Undercounting Children in the 2020 Census Could Cost Millions
At The Family Conservancy, we’re focused on improving the environments that shape young children’s futures. In order to do that work to the best of our ability, an accurate count of everyone in our community is critical. Counting young children is especially important so we can ensure they have the resources they need for the next 10 years.
Approximately $675 billion in federal funding is directly tied to census data. Some of the biggest programs included are child care assistance, the Supplemental Nutrition Program, Medicaid, and the Children’s Health Insurance Program. When community members are missed in the census, these critical programs suffer.
Many of the vulnerable populations TFC serves are historically undercounted in the census – such as children under five years old. It is estimated that 4.6 percent of children under age 5 were not counted in the 2010 census. It is estimated that Missouri and Kansas lose more than $1,000 each year for every child that is not counted.
Completing the Census
In mid-March, homes across the country began receiving invitations to complete the 2020 Census. As soon as you receive your invitation, you can complete the census by phone, mail or online.
Consider this information from the Census Bureau for an accurate count:
- Count children in the home where they live and sleep most of the time, even if their parents don’t live there.
- If a child’s time is divided between two homes, count them where they stay most often. If they evenly divide their time, or you do not know where they stay most often, count them where they are staying on April 1, 2020.
- If a child moves during March or April 2020, count them at the address where they are living on April 1.
- Count children living in your home if they don’t have a permanent place to live and are staying with you on April 1, even if they are only staying temporarily.
- Count newborns at the home where they will live and sleep most of the time, even if they are still in the hospital on April 1.
- Remind neighbors to count all children living or sleeping in their home most of the time, regardless of who or where their parents are.
Addressing Misconceptions about the Census
A February survey conducted by the Urban Institute found that nearly two-third of adults think it is very likely or somewhat likely that answers to the census will be used to find people living in the U.S. without documentation. The reality is that federal law ensures census data remains private. Furthermore, an attempt to include a citizenship question was struck down by the Supreme Court.
Supporting an Accurate Count
If we’re able to close the estimated undercount for young children, we could guarantee millions of additional dollars for critical services in the Kansas City Area.
Please share the importance of an accurate census count with families.
Use these resources to spread the word about the importance of the census.