As the coronavirus pandemic continues its widespread impact, the Census Bureau has nixed its usual door-to-door efforts and replaced them with ads on Spotify, text-a-thons, and even a contest to win a personal phone call from Hamilton star, Lin-Manuel Miranda. 
Julie Menin, director of New York City Census 2020, told Cheddar Wednesday that the pandemic is a stark reminder that the census is important, and having the playwright as a partner is motivating New Yorkers to complete their forms.   
“Someone like Lin-Manuel Miranda, who really is an icon in New York City, helps to motivate New Yorkers about the importance of the census,” Menin said. “In light of COVID, it is a really sharp reminder of why the census is so important because the census is directly linked to the funding for our hospitals, funding for our ventilators, and our PPE.”
More than 40 percent of New York City has responded to the 2020 census, according to the Bureau, but Menin emphasized that the rate is still lagging. 
“Right now we are 10 points behind the national average and yet we are the epicenter of COVID, but with that said we still have a long way to go. We want to make sure every single New Yorker is counted in the census,” she said
The director noted that it can be challenging to reach New Yorkers because many do not have personal internet access. Before stay-at-home orders were enforced in the state, the Bureau planned to have 300 pop-up centers in public libraries across the city to help New Yorkers without access to tech the chance to complete their census forms.
“We obviously can’t do that now. What we are doing is we are phone banking those individuals, we’re increasing our advertising on TV, on radio. And we’re also doing, for those who do have digital access, a text-a-thon, so that we are reaching millions of New Yorkers,” she said.