According to the U.S. Census Bureau, nearly 1 million children under age 5 were not counted in the 2010 Census – 71,307 were missed in Florida alone, according to Partnership for America’s Children calculations.
People who do return the forms sometimes simply forget to count everyone living in their household. This can often occur in “complex households” — those with several generations of a family or unrelated families living together, as well as foster or blended families.
“Many parents and caregivers don’t realize they need to include all children who live with them full-time or at least most of the time on their census survey, whether they are related or not,” explained Roy Miller, president of The Children’s Campaign.
Infants should also be counted as long as they are born on or before April 1, 2020.
Census Data Determines Funding for Services Children Need
The Children’s Campaign has initiated a Count All Kids effort to educate the public that all children should be counted if they live and sleep in a home most of the time.
Counting young children will be vitally important in the 2020 Census because population statistics are used to allocate billions of dollars in federal, state and local revenue annually.
Much of that money funds programs that directly affect children, including nutrition assistance, Head Start, special education, foster care, Medicaid, and the Children’s Health Insurance Program and housing assistance to name just a few.
If families live in subsidized housing that limits how many can live in each unit, people may be reluctant to report everyone who lives there and may be afraid to include all the children on the census questionnaire.
Responses to the 2020 Census are confidential and protected by law. They cannot be shared with any law enforcement or immigration agency such as Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). Responses are also never shared with landlords or any other individual.
Undercounting Kids Can Affect Them for Most of Their Childhood
Because census results help determine where revenue is distributed for programs that are important for children, an accurate count can shape children’s futures for 10 years or more. Undercounting children in the census means programs and services that children depend on such as local schools can be affected for most of a kids’ childhoods.
To learn more, visit iamforkids.org/census
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This Top Story is brought to you by Roy Miller and Karen Bonsignori