Mighty Blog

Counting All Kids: Why the Census is important

Mailboxes are being stuffed with information encouraging us to participate in the 2020 Census. This is the 24th time the country has counted its population since the census began in 1790. The constitution requires the counting of all individuals living in the U.S. every 10 years.

The census helps to determine how resources are allocated in the United States and also determines congressional district representation. The 2020 Census will guide the distribution of almost $15 billion in federal funds to Minnesota communities; funds that support the children we serve, such as Medicaid, Head Start, Free and Reduced Lunch, SNAP, and child care assistance. For every Minnesota resident not counted, the community will lose about $2,800 per person. That is $28,000 per person over the next 10 years.

Mom on computer with daughter at home.

Unfortunately, children under 5 have historically been undercounted. Nearly 1 million children in the United States were missed in 2010. This means the funding to support these kids and families was lost too. These were likely children who have complex living arrangements such as those who live with extended family or with someone not related to them, are unstably housed or homeless and newborns and children who were in the hospital on April 1.

What can we do to make sure children are counted?

So what can we do to make sure children are counted? Fill out the 2020 Census. Encourage our neighbors, colleagues and friends to do the same. Go to 2020census.gov for more information or to answer any questions. The census is a civic activity that we can ALL participate it. Funding for our children and families depends on it.

Helpful Census information:

  • The census can be completed online, by phone or by mail.
  • Census support information is available in 59 languages at 2020census.gov.
  • The law requires the Census Bureau to keep all census information confidential. Information cannot be shared with other agencies.
  • Ensure all children are counted by noting the following:
    • Adults should count all children living in their home, even if they are not related or just staying with them temporarily.
    • If a child splits their time evenly between two homes, count them where they are staying on Census Day – April 1, 2020.
    • If a child doesn’t have a permanent place to live, count them where they are staying on April 1, 2020.
    • Newborn babies should be counted, even if they are still in the hospital on April 1, 2020.
  • Minnesota families can commit to be counted in the 2020 Census and get their census questions answered in multiple languages by texting the following:
    • English: text COUNT to 662020
    • Spanish: text CENSO to 662020
    • Somali: text TIRI to 662020
    • Hmong: text SUAVPED to 662020

A message from Marc Gorelick, MD, president and CEO of Children’s Minnesota

Marc Gorelick, MD, president and CEO of Children’s Minnesota, explains why the 2020 Census is important.

Alexandra Rothstein