New York City is more like a conglomeration of closely connected countries than a single uniform city. Each neighborhood has its own distinct culture, and residents will defend their little slice of the city as fiercely as they would a close family member. Exactly where the lines are drawn for each neighborhood, however, can be a point of contention. A new interactive map on the NYC Census 2020 website has officially set the boundaries, with the division of the city into 245 sections.
The map is intended to make it easier to get an accurate count in the upcoming 2020 census. The goal of the US census, which happens every 10 years, is to count every person, and it has occurred every decade since 1790. Data from the census is used to evenly distribute $650 billion in federal funds earmarked for public services like education, housing, congressional seats, and infrastructure. New York City residents don’t have the best track record of responses, though. Less than 62 percent of people self-responded, according to the NYC Census 2020 committee. The national average is 76 percent.
Despite the intention to improve count accuracy, some are taking issue with how the boundary lines have been drawn.
Kathleen Daniel, the NYC Census 2020’s field director, told Patch that reaching an agreement on the boundaries was no easy task. “Did we come to 100 percent consensus? No, because we’re New Yorkers,” Daniel said. “Nobody agrees on everything here. What we reasonably tried to do was label the neighborhoods in a manner that was most familiar to people.”
Ultimately, however, Daniel does not believe that the boundary lines will deter people from participating. After all, high census participation could lead to hundreds of billions of dollars in federal aid across the state.
Regardless of how the boundaries are set for this count, it joins one of many attempts to define where in the city you’re at. And whether you agree with the NYC Census map, the New York City map, whatever Google tells you, or any other map, there’s a good chance you can find someone who will disagree with you.