Count All Kids: What's at Stake if 2020 Census Misses Children in Your Community

Posted October 20, 2018, By the Annie E. Casey Foundation

We must count all kids in the 2020 Census

A new short video produced by the Annie E. Casey Foundation is something you should watch if one of the following describes you: city councilperson, nurse, small business owner, educator, county social services worker, member of the clergy, librarian, hospital administrator, parent, neighbor or someone who simply wants to see America's kids thrive.

If that sounds like just about every adult, it's intended to, because as our "Count All Kids" video explains, our children need us to ensure every child is counted in the upcoming U.S. census. The Constitution mandates that we count everyone in the country every 10 years, and the 2020 census is less than 18 months away.

The challenge is daunting: Researchers believe up to 2 million children under age 5 could be missed in the count, for a variety of reasons. That's about how many were missed last time around, and the problem has worsened with every census since 1980.

And the stakes are high: Communities where children are missed in the count risk reductions in federal funding for schools, hospitals, libraries and other resources. An inaccurate census is a mistake we'd have to live with for 10 years.

But there are steps you can take where you live to ensure that all kids are counted. As the video explains, "On a local level… state, county and city officials must engage community partners — from nurses and child care providers to teachers and faith leaders — now to reach hard-to-count households with young kids to encourage participation in the 2020 census."

Check out our "Count All Kids" video, and share it with community leaders and others, especially those whose work involves children and families. The sooner that schools, local governments and others start planning, the better the count will be.

Additional Census Resources on the Child Undercount

To learn more, visit and download the Casey Foundation's 2018 KIDS COUNT Data Book, which focused on the potential for children to be missed in the 2020 census. You may also wish to view a more in-depth video produced by the Ford Foundation.

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