Census 2020: Let’s Count All Kids

Posted by South Carolina First Steps:

Although much has changed in the past month due to the coronavirus pandemic, the need to ensure an accurate count of our nation’s residents in the 2020 Census – especially our youngest children – remains the same. Fortunately, it has never been easier to respond to the census on your own, whether online, over the phone, or by mail – all without having to meet an in-person census taker. 

Children under age 5 are undercounted in the census at a higher rate than any other age group. Within this group, children in low-income families and children of color are even more likely to be missed. The government estimates that the 2010 Census failed to account for nearly 5% of all young children in the United States. That’s 1 million kids!

Undercounting young children has serious consequences for families and communities. Inaccurate census counts have the potential to affect financial support for programs such as health insurance, hospitals, child care, food assistance, schools, and early childhood development. In fact, conservative estimates suggest that in the last decade, South Carolina has lost $9,158,689 per year in federal funds designated for children’s programs. That’s a total loss of nearly $92 million over 10 years. 

Most households received their invitation to respond to the 2020 Census between March 12 – 20. These official Census Bureau mailings include detailed information and a Census ID for completing the census. But even without a Census ID, you can still respond at my2020census.gov. Just click “Start Questionnaire” and select “If you do not have a Census ID, click here.”

The time is now. Help shape your community’s future by completing the census, and remember:

  • A child should be counted as part of the household where they live and sleep most of the time, even if their parents do not live there.
  • If a newborn baby is still in the hospital on Census Day (April 1, 2020), that baby should be counted as part of the household where he or she will live and sleep most of the time. 
  • If a child spends time in more than one home, count them where they stay most often. If their time is evenly divided, or if you do not know where they stay most often, count them where they are staying on April 1, 2020 – even if it’s only temporary.