What’s the Big Deal About the 2020 Census?
I’m sure by now you’ve heard the buzz in the news and on social media about the 2020 Census. Beyond the Constitutional mandate to conduct it, we know folks are asking, “What’s the big deal about the 2020 census?” or “Why does it matter so much?”
The answer to those questions is both simple and complex. The short answer is money. The longer and more complicated answers involve how money is allocated and spent, and on whom it gets spent. Data of the 2020 Census determines what resources used across government agencies and the organizations that partner with them. This starts up at the federal level and flows down to local organizations that serve the American public.
Creating a Family’s mission is to strengthen and inspire adoptive, foster & kinship parents and the professionals who support them. We care deeply about collecting accurate data in this 2020 Census because we care deeply about the children the data represents. The 2020 Census is a big deal because our children are a big deal.
All Children Deserve to be Counted
Did you know that “children under age 5 are one of the largest groups of undercounted people in the United States“? In fact, on the 2010 census, almost 1 million kids under the age of five years old were not represented in the final data. As my junior high Intro to Spanish student says, “That’s no bueno.” Census data impacts programs like Intermediate Units, WIC, Early Intervention, and a myriad of others. Those are just a few of the short-term impacts of the data when today’s children are still young.
As those children grow up, the long-term impacts of data include even more resources, like government responses to housing and poverty issues. Language services, health-care programs, school district funding, and special needs support will impact a child in the long-term.
The previous census underrepresented the five-and-under crowd. This census must accurately represent our youngest citizens to determine the programs that directly impact them now and for the next ten or more years.
All Children Deserve to be Safe
2020 Census data will determine the flow of federal monies into the state, county, and local communities. First responders, law enforcement, and foster care/social welfare agencies are all in the tight circles that we as a community draw around a child in crisis. These service providers rely upon grants and federal funding to train and maintain preparedness in the event of an emergency and to provide follow-up care to children in need.
We all know local child welfare agencies that are struggling to staff and serve the children in our communities. The 2020 Census must accurately reflect who and where the children are to determine their funding.
The Family First Prevention Services Act is an example of how funding serves kids in foster care.
All Children Deserve to be Educated
An accurate count of the children in America also impacts our educational systems, including special education supports and interventions. School districts rely on these numbers to plan their physical facilities and building plans, nutrition services, staffing, and support services. Federal programs like Early Intervention, Head Start, and Intermediate Unit operate at the local level with schools to provide fair and equal access to education. Well-funded education systems set our kids up for success.
As Annie E. Casey Foundation’s Five Reasons to Complete the 2020 Census pointed out, census information helps address the changing needs of a community and point out where a community must evolve. Without accurate data, school districts face challenges in transportation, classroom size, teacher grants, library funding, and more.
The 2020 Census matters because educating kids and supporting teachers to innovate and grow are good for America. Today and tomorrow.
How Can I Make Sure My Kids (and I) Get Counted?
The United States is still practicing quarantine measures, thanks to the ongoing CoVid-19 pandemic. Social distancing is still vitally important for “flattening the curve” of this outbreak and supporting the healthcare system to manage the cases that are still requiring hospitalization and care. (There you go, yet another great reason to complete your census – healthcare funding for your community depends upon accurate data!)
Understandably, the idea of a stranger showing up at your door with the 2020 Census in hand might worry you. Have no fear, 2020census.gov has made it incredibly easy to complete your household’s count as accurately as possible in the safety of your own home. Even the website name is easy to remember.
This page lists all the options for how to complete the 2020 Census, including contact information, Who To Count, and a wide range of language options.
There is a list of Frequently Asked Questions that can help you more accurately record your household data.
Spread the Word About Why The 2020 Census Matters
Does the urgency of gathering accurate data now resonate with you? Can you forecast how a thorough count will better serve the children and families in your community tomorrow? If you answered yes to either question, then please share this blog post. We appreciate it when you take the time to share our resources!
You can also check out the other pages at 2020census.gov for engaging videos and stories to share.
Additionally, Sesame Workshop has created a FREE and fun Census Toolkit to share – via social media or email) with local pre-schools, libraries, faith centers. Share the links wherever you are interacting with parents and caregivers who need to know more. The toolkit includes:
- 6 video PSAs and 1 audio PSA emphasizing the need to count all kids, and how the census brings resources to communities
- 24×36 color poster encouraging everyone to Make Your Family Count!
- 8.5×11 flyer for caregivers describing how to complete the census
- Social media graphics with suggested posts and hashtags
Sesame Workshop is also encouraging folks to get social about the 2020 Census. Use the hashtags #CountAllKids and #2020Census to spread the word and share helpful census information.