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REBNY Watch

REBNY WATCH: Why New York Needs An Accurate Census Count

By John H. Banks

The task of fairly and accurately accounting for each person residing in the United States is the
bedrock of sound and informed public policy decisions. Understanding who lives where, and
how they live, is an essential component of decisions at every level of government.

It’s equally essential to the real estate industry in a dynamic, ever-evolving urban center like New York
City—and it is exactly why the Real Estate Board of New York is so encouraged by a recent
federal court decision that all New Yorkers should applaud.

That’s because the decision overruled a controversial question that would have, if implemented,
added a controversial “citizenship” question to the census for the first time. This would have
diluted the results by driving away vulnerable New Yorkers with fears over their immigration
status, and in the process, prevented the vital collection of data to plan for the next decade in New York City.

The 2020 Census, too, will be a crucial one for the future of the City.
The census has a direct impact on New York’s affordability crisis. Current population growth
models suggest the situation will become exacerbated without action. That means a meticulous
accounting of neighborhood growth is required to forecast future needs.

That is why the upcoming census is so important—it will provide critical information on the
changing demographics and population makeup of our neighborhoods and inform decisions
about how to build smarter.

A new action committee formed by the Association for a Better New York is working to ensure
the city is not undercounted. An effort is underway to focus on improving outreach and
messaging to communities that have historically been left out of census counts. In addition,
Speaker Corey Johnson appointed Council Members Carlina Rivera and Carlos Menchaca to
lead a City Council task force to examine census-related issues.

The latest update to the 2010 Census, released in 2016, revealed that the city is currently in the
midst of a population boom the likes of which we haven’t seen in half a century. As a result,
officials, city planners, urbanists and the real estate industry have been able to react to those
developments and work towards meeting the needs of New Yorkers and prospective New
Yorkers alike.

Census data informs decisions around critical issues like land use, the production of housing at
every income level, transportation improvements and infrastructural rehabilitation—each of
which are essential to creating a more accessible and affordable New York City.

But beyond even producing an adequate amount of housing and providing the infrastructure to
ensure citizens can get around efficiently, the census also informs the location of public goods
like new schools and facilities that deliver health care, provide care for children or assist our
elderly community. To maximize impact, each of those decisions must be informed by changing
demographics and understand changes over time.

As cities and states across America prepare for the census, the stakes for New York could not be
higher. New York risks several losses if the state is undercounted, including fewer Congressional
representatives and decreased federal funding. REBNY strongly supports all efforts to ensure the
upcoming census will be as accurate as possible.

In Other REBNY News:
Vickey Barron of Compass, Co-Chair of the REBNY Education Committee, will lead our “Show
and Sell” Residential Breakfast Club Seminar on Tuesday, February 19th from 9:30 to 11:00
a.m. at the REBNY Mendik Education Center. This event is designed to make you a master at
showing any property. Learn how to ask questions that empower you and build relationships by
being a trusted advisor. Visit rebny.com to RSVP for this event – spots are filling quickly!
Do you know an exceptional commercial building engineer? If so, nominate them for their
biggest achievement of all with this year’s REBNY Small and Large Building Engineer Awards.
The nomination deadline is Friday, February 22nd. Email OwnersandManagers@rebny.com for
more information.

Join more than 500 commercial real estate professionals for another must-see conversation and
invaluable networking at our Spring Members’ Luncheon on Tuesday, March 19th from 11:45
a.m. to 2:00 p.m. at the Ziegfeld Ballroom. Mark your calendar and don’t miss out! Email
CommercialBrokerage@rebny.com for more information and sponsorship opportunities.
REBNY’s 21st Annual Residential Management Leadership Breakfast will be held on Thursday,
March 21st from 8:30 to 10:00 a.m. at the New York Hilton Midtown. This event brings together
the best of the real estate industry as we honor outstanding leaders in the field of residential
property management. Register at rebny.com, and email OwnersandManagers@rebny.com for
more information and sponsorship opportunities.

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