In April, the United States will send out questionnaires to all citizens living in the country regarding the makeup of their household. While it may be tempting for busy parents to disregard those forms, the 2020 US Census Bureau says it’s absolutely vital for parents to fill them out to make sure their children are counted.
What is the Census
The job of the census is to count every living person in the United States — including the District of Columbia, and all five US territories (Puerto Rico, American Samoa, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, Guam, and the US Virgin Islands) — to make sure the government is providing an adequate amount of resources to its citizens.
Information gathered will impact things such as how many people will require teachers, funding, and lawmakers for any given 10-year period. Without an accurate count, there’s an increased risk for shortages in supplies and funding.
Why it Matters to Your Children
In 2010, almost one million children under the age of five were left off of the census rolls, making them one of the largest groups of uncounted people in the country. That means that they were not taken into consideration when it came to the spending of hundreds of billions of dollars of federal funding over the past decade.
That included money used to fund programs like Head Start, food assistance and much more. Dr. Kirsten M. Ellenbogen, Ph.D. and President and CEO of the Great Lakes Science Center explained to an audience at the 2020 Census Press Conference how none of these programs could provide any of the services they do without an accurate census count.
She went on to explain how vital those years are for children, as they change so much from birth to the age of five. Additionally, she says the jump from ages two to 12 is equally as important.
“We spent a lot of time looking at how children change during that decade from two-12,” Ellenbogen said. “Imagine a world in which those children were not supported over that entire decade.”
Making Marginalized Voices Heard
This information is so important, in fact, that groups like the Advancement Project, National Office (AP), Asian & Pacific Islander American Health Forum (APIAHF), Demos, Faith in Action (FIA), National Congress of American Indians (NCAI), National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), National Urban League (NUL), Race Forward and UnidosUS have all announced a collective project called “Mapping the Count” to ensure that no child, especially those who are more marginalized than others, are missed during the 2020 census.
You can fill out your 2020 census online, or by mailing your form back in the postage-paid envelope provided.