2010 Census – children count, too!

Every child loves a good game of hide and seek. There are the fun butterflies they get in their tummies when they’re waiting to be discovered and the pride they feel when they’re able to count to ten and then yelling, “Ready or not, here I come!”

But children who are hidden from the U.S. Census counts (taken only once every 10 years) are not a laughing matter. So, ready or not, here comes 2010 Census … and you have an important role to play!

Many parents may not realize the importance of accurately reporting the number of children in their family, including newborns. The truth is that the undercount of children means that we do not get a true picture of our nation and our communities do not get their rightful share of public funds.

Why Children Count Too

Children have been undercounted in every census since the first one in 1790. Local communities rely on census information in planning for schools, child care, health and other critical services. Babies need to be counted today, so they can benefit tomorrow from community services.

Census counts are used, in whole or in part, for more than 140 programs that distribute more than $400 billion of federal funds to states and localities, including such child-focused programs as:

* Special Education Grants to states ($10.8 billion)
* Head Start ($6.9 billion)
* State Children’s Health Insurance Program ($5.9 billion)
* Foster Care Title IV-E ($4.7 billion)
* Improving Teacher Quality State Grants ($2.9 billion)

Unlike adults, who may bear some responsibility for making sure they are counted in the Census, children are dependent on others to make sure they are included. Yet in 1980, 1990, and 2000, Census Bureau data shows children, particularly young children, are one of the groups most likely to be missed in the Census. In fact, in the 2000 Census, there was a net undercount of more than 1 million children under age 10.

The Census Bureau has teamed up with Nickelodeon to create a toolkit, featuring Dora the Explorer, the popular children’s cartoon character, with resources to help you spread the word to your community. Please visit http://2010.census.gov/partners/toolkits/toolkits-dora.php to download the children’s fact sheet and web buttons.

When playing hide and seek, your children have the opportunity to be found after ten seconds. The Census only comes around every ten years. So when you receive your Census form next week, make sure your child (no matter how old) is counted!