(Editor’s Note: This is the first in a series of articles in the coming months by First 5 LA exploring the importance of counting young children during Census 2020.)
While the countdown to the new year may be over, the launch of the most important tally of 2020 for California’s children and families is just around the corner.
By April 1, every home in the U.S. will receive an invitation to participate in the 2020 Census, a once-a-decade collection of population and demographic data from every person living in the country. This information determines the amount of federal funding going to every community over the next 10 years, including important programs that support children and families: schools, child care, medical care, food assistance, housing and public transportation. The Census count also determines the number of elected representatives California sends to Congress, keeping our voice strong.
Ensuring that every kid is counted is critical.Of all states, California had the most children prenatal to age 5 not counted in the 2010 Census. An undercount in 2020 could cost California up to $115 billion per year across federal programs that support children.
Recent research found that people who are least likely to complete the Census or count their children are the ones most reliant on these programs, including younger, low-income, immigrant, and rural families, along with people in complex household situations.
To ensure that every child in California is counted in the 2020 Census, now is the time to create general awareness, answer common questions and allay personal fears related to immigration status.
First 5 LA is doing its part to share Census messaging through a variety of articles and web pages with links to resources. Additionally, the First 5 Association of California has created a 2020 Census Campaign kit (https://thesocialpresskit.com/first5-2020census), a resource center to educate and motivate parents, caregivers and heads of household to participate. This kit provides social media assets and documents that will help you share Census messaging in English and Spanish.
And that’s not all. This year, there are more options than ever for responding, as the 2020 Census marks the first time people can respond online, even on their smartphone! People can also respond by mail or phone in English, Spanish or 11 other languages. Families can be encouraged to respond to the Census by visiting 2020census.gov on April 1, 2020.
We need your help reaching families and ensuring that all of California’s young children are counted. Feel free to share these resources with your families, communities, partners or other stakeholders.
Remember: every kid counts!