January 1, 2020 wasn't just the start of a new year—it was also the start of a new decade. And every ten years, our federal government conducts a census to find out the number of people living in the United States.

This census data impacts our daily lives in more ways than many people realize. It affects the number of seats each state has in the U.S. House of Representatives, and it also determines how more than $675 billion per year in federal funds is spent on schools, hospitals, roads, public works, and other programs in communities across the country.

But unfortunately it has been difficult to accurately gauge the number of Paterson residents. According to the 2010 Census, Paterson's population was 146,199, but only approximately 60% of Patersonians filled out and returned the census.

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To bring attention to the importance of the 2020 Census, on Wednesday, April 1—Census Day—NJCDC staff and our Paterson Youth Council members were eager to share their Census Selfies and why they and their families filled out the census. It may have been April Fools' Day, but this was no joke.

If you haven't filled out your census yet, it's not too late. Simply head to www.my2020census.gov to make sure you're counted!


"I filled out my census to help ensure Paterson Counts. Paterson is on the brink of a renaissance—and the census results will determine future federal funding for our hospitals, schools, highways, and more, not to mention our representation in Congress. Make sure your household is counted—it's easy, safe, and extremely important!" – Bob Guarasci, NJCDC Founder & CEO

"It is vital that everyone is counted. Our family completes the census so that our children are given every available opportunity and resource that they deserve." - David Gelman, Interim Chief Program Officer and Kayla Gelman, NJCDC AmeriCorps alum

"What matters to you? Schools? Transportation? HOSPITALS? The 2020 Census will influence community funding and congressional representation. Responding to the census is your chance to impact programs like Pell Grants, health care services, food assistance, and more for the next DECADE. Shape the future by responding to the 2020 Census. Visit 2020census.gov." - Cristina Tone, Assistant Program Director, NJCDC's Neighborhood Help Center.

"It's important for EVERYONE to be counted because EVERYONE matters. Be counted and complete your census!" - Nicole Sweeney, Full Service Community Schools Site Coordinator, JFK High School.

"The 2020 Census is easy, safe, and important to shape the future of our communities. I completed my 2020 Census. Did you?" - Tiffany Shepherd, Community Charter School of Paterson Site Leader.

Paterson Youth Council Members

"The Paterson community deserves an abundance of resources, which requires that we get a proper count of everyone who lives here. That's why I made my family fill out the 2020 Census. Let's work together as ONE Paterson to fulfill our goal of making Paterson even greater than it already is!" - Mohammed Uddin, Paterson Youth Council President (and Paterson Family Center preschool and Community Charter School of Paterson alum) Read more about Mohammed.

"Everyone deserves to be counted, and Paterson deserves more federal funding. Visit 2020Census.gov if you haven't submitted your 2020 Census yet!" - Jenifer Guizar, Paterson Youth Council member.

"We need an accurate 2020 Census count to ensure our schools have adequate funding. Paterson youth deserve the best possible education so they can thrive in school—and beyond!" - Emel Rodriguez, Paterson Youth Council member.

"The 2020 Census is a chance for the people of Paterson to get more opportunities, especially in schools where we are underfunded." - Tahmida Khan, Paterson Youth Council member.