To make kids count, count all kids: 2020 Census

Our children matter. For kids to count, they must be counted. Act now to petition for an accurate count in the 2020 Census.

Census data matters. The results of the 2020 census will decide, for the next decade, how many seats in the U.S. House of Representatives are apportioned to each state and how much federal funding communities receive for programs like public health insurance, housing subsidies, child care, and more. The census counts also help states plan for vital infrastructure investments and the allocation of other critical public funds. Advocacy organizations like CAHS and the Annie E. Casey Foundation rely on accurate census counts to understand and push for the policies that support child well-being.

But for decades, the census has undercounted children of color, children in immigrant families, and children in low-income households. The 2010 Census failed to count an estimated 1 million children younger than 5. The undercount rate in the last census for Hispanic and Latino kids under age 5 was 6.5 percent and the rate for Black and African American children as 6.3 percent. In contrast, the rate for white children was 2.7 percent. Now, despite the vital importance of the census, we face another potential undercount of young children in 2020 — a problem that’s grown in magnitude with every census since 1980.

Approximately 23 percent of children under 5 live in hard-to-count census tracts nationwide. Connecticut is above the national average with 29 percent of our children living in areas where they are more likely to be missed by the Census count. This potential undercount means that programs focused on child well-being, such as SNAP and Connecticut HUSKY Healthcare (SCHIP) could lose crucial funding due to inaccurate counts, while low-income, immigrant, and communities of color could lose out on the political representation they deserve.  

The U.S. Census Bureau has a constitutional mandate to count every person on U.S. soil, not every citizen. The addition of proposed citizenship questions to the 2020 Census form could further jeopardize an accurate count of the people in our nation. The census has not included a citizenship question like the one proposed since 1950. Asking census respondents about their citizenship is a costly, unnecessary, and likely damaging move that experts fear could worsen the undercount of Hispanic and Latino Americans.  If immigrant families do not participate in the census because they fear disclosing their citizenship status, they will not be counted in the eyes of our government.

To ask the Department of Commerce to not include the citizenship question in the 2020 Census, please submit a comment to the Department of Commerce website by August 7th, 2018.

It is particularly important that you include anecdotes or details about how adding the citizenship question will deter constituents or community members from participating in Census 2020. Act now to make sure your voice is heard before census questions are finalized.

Our children matter. For kids to count, they must be counted. Act now to petition for an accurate count in the 2020 Census. 

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