There is neither a simple explanation nor any consensus on why young children are missed so often in the census. But there are a couple of theories about why children might be missed. This report explores those theories, how it affects our political and economic structure, and offers recommendations to overcome the miscount.
When children are not counted accurately we don’t get a true picture of our nation.
Findings & Stats
Young children are missed in the census at a higher rate than any other age group and minority children are missed most often.
1 Million Under 10
In 2000, there was a net undercount of more than 1 million children under age 10 with more than 75,000 children under age 5 missed.
Undercount in Every State
In almost every state, the undercount averaged 20% of children living in hard-to-count areas.
Minority children age 0 to 4 rose from 41% in 2000 to 47% in 2008.
47% of unauthorized-immigrant households were couples with children.
Approximately 2 million children were affected by the housing crisis, which made it more difficult to get an accurate population count.
Statements & Quotations
The census is at the heart of our political system. Census data are used to distribute more than $400 billion in federal funds each year,
Data from the 1990 census shows that undercounted children are disproportionately black, American Indian, and Hispanic, and all the evidence suggests they are likely to be poor.
Despite the long-standing problem of children being missed in the Decennial Census, little has been done to examine this issue.
At the local level, the more organiza¬tions such as Complete Count Committees, and Census Bureau partners can get informational materials to orga¬nizations and offices that reach households with young children, the more likely preschoolers are to be included in the census count.
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