Why are Young Children Missed So Often in the Census?

A KIDS COUNT Working Paper

By the Annie E. Casey Foundation

December 4, 2009

Summary

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. 

Table of Contents

Key Takeaway

When children are not counted accurately we don’t get a true picture of our nation.

Reasons for children being missed in the census count range from their living in hard-to-count neighborhoods to the fact that the census form only has space for six household members. When children are not counted accurately we don’t get a true picture of our nation, and communities don’t get their rightful share of public funds or political power.

Findings & Stats

Missing Kids

Young children are missed in the census at a higher rate than any other age group and minority children are missed most often.

Minority Increases

Minority children age 0 to 4 rose from 41% in 2000 to 47% in 2008.

Statements & Quotations