The 2020 census is almost here! As you likely know, the U.S. Constitution requires a count of every U.S. resident every ten years. Census data is not merely academic-it is used for everything from deciding where new roads should be located to how over $2.8 BILLION dollars for children’s programs in Louisiana are allocated. What you may not know is that young children (under the age of five) are more likely to be missed by the census than any other group.
The 2010 census missed about two million young children, 12,000 of whom were Louisiana residents. Louisiana misses out on over $16 million each year from the top five child-serving federal programs due to the 2010 undercount. In human terms, an inaccurate census means longer Head Start waitlists, under-resourced schools and more hungry children. As a state that is ranked 49th in overall child well-being, we simply cannot afford to leave that kind of money on the table for our kids.
You can make a BIG difference in little lives by becoming a Count All Kids Champion! As the KIDS COUNT grantee for Louisiana, Agenda for Children has been working with national, state and local partners to develop a set of resources to help program providers (including child care centers and schools) improve families’ understanding of the census, prevent an undercount of young children and support efforts to help families complete the census.
Outreach efforts targeted at specifically at families of young children are critical because the reasons that young children are missed by the census are different from the reasons that adults get missed. In fact, many young children who were missed by the 2010 census lived in homes that responded to the census. That means that basic messages to simply encourage households to complete the census may not be effective in making sure that all children actually get counted by the census.
Visit www.agendaforchildren.org/census to access all of our resources, including:
Census in Schools and Centers Sweepstakes:To enter, teachers just need to use the Census Bureau’s Statistics in Schools materials in their classroom, take a quick snapshot or video of the activity, then enter online. Every classroom that participates creates another entry for their school or center. Any Louisiana school or center can enter. Entries are due by March 31st and winners will be randomly selected and announced on April 1st. Winning schools or centers will receive $500!
Take the pledge to become a Count All Kids Champion! By becoming a Count All Kids Champion, you can sign up to learn more about the census, commit to specific activities, and order free materials, such as posters, fliers and “Count Me” stickers that you can give to children on April 1st, Census Day.
Use out one-page outreach flier to give centers and schools lots of ideas on how they can raise families’ awareness of the census and support families in completing the census.
Our young child outreach toolkit provides more in-depth resources for early childhood stakeholders who would like to join efforts to ensure a complete count of children and their families in 2020. The toolkit includes links to local and national resources (including posters, social media assets and fact sheets), hotline information in multiple languages, timelines for census outreach, as well as sample emails, newsletter blurbs and social media posts you can use in communications to families.
Fact Sheet on the Undercount in Louisiana provides key facts on the young child undercount in Louisiana.
We hope that you will join us in our efforts to count every kid in Louisiana! We encourage you to share this information and these resources with your networks, including schools, child care centers, WIC clinics, libraries, churches and others who are working every day to make a difference for children in Louisiana.