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Not a Single 2010 Census Form Was Received From This Grand Street Building

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The Hillman Houses on Grand Street played a starring role in a New York Times piece the other day on preparations for the 2020 Census.

The cooperative complex at 500-550 Grand St. owned a dubious distinction eight years ago:

For the last census, in 2010, the Census Bureau sent 542 questionnaires to addresses on Grand Street on the Lower East Side of Manhattan with the usual instructions to fill out the forms and mail them back. Not a single form was completed and returned, according to an analysis of census data. It was the only zero response in any census “block group” — the smallest area for which the Census Bureau provides data — in Manhattan. The problem, however, may not have been that all 542 households ignored the forms, but that the forms never reached them. So as preparations begin for the next census in 2020, the bleak statistic from Grand Street illustrates an issue that New York City officials are grappling with: making sure the mail gets where it is supposed to.

City officials are working to make sure New York isn’t undercounted in 2020. You can read more about their efforts here.

Here’s an interesting aside. In 2010, the Lower East Side was represented by Sheldon Silver, the former state assembly speaker who was booted from office after a public corruption conviction in 2015. This building is where Silver lived then, and where he continues to live today (the former lawmaker faces retrial this coming spring).

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