During this time, it’s hard to think about anything besides the pandemic and the immediate effect it is having on our lives. Yet, the Census 2020 will continue and it will affect our lives for decades to come.

Experts are already predicting that children younger than 5 will be significantly undercounted, by more than 2 million kids in some estimates. It’s important to count young children accurately now so they have the resources they need for years to come. For every child not counted, our state loses $2000 a year for 10 years. That’s $20,000 per child. Just imagine the profound impact that could make.

Top reasons children are undercounted:

  • People will not submit their census at all.
  • Concerns about privacy and citizenship issues, as addressed in a prior post, stop people from participating.
  • Children are simply left off the questionnaires. Many people don’t understand that the Census needs to count children (even the youngest of infants) as well as adults.
  • Children can be missed in the count because of where their families live: they can be rural, renters, highly mobile, or experiencing homelessness.
  • Children are underreported because they can live in complex households; with unrelated persons, blended families, multi-generational families, or with relatives other than parents.
  • Children are undercounted in households with literacy issues or households where languages other than English are spoken.

All children – who are often the most in need of programs funded based on Census counts – must be counted so they will receive the resources they need. Our next post will provide you will some resources how you can reach out to your communities to help make sure everyone gets counted.

There is good news:  As of this morning the Wisconsin Census response rate is 42.7%. This is the highest response rate of any state in the nation. Great work – let’s keep it up Wisconsin!

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