Census Sense

by Cami Harris, Communications & Marketing Manager

Cami Harris

You’ve been hearing a lot from us, and no doubt increasingly from other organizations about the upcoming 2020 Census. The Census is a population count that takes place every 10 years, and is set to begin in March.

Here’s why it’s so important:

Money: $675 billion in federal investments to be distributed across states, counties and cities over the next decade is determined by census data. That money is spent on schools, hospitals, roads, public works, and other vital programs and services that communities depend on. An undercount can have real consequences.

An estimated 18,000 Colorado children were missed in the 2010 Census. In 2020, it is estimated that each individual counted (including newborns) represents about $2800. Multiply that by 18,000 and that translates to nearly $55 million in federal funding for Coloradans. That’s just an equivalent for the children missed in the 2010 Census, not to mention other hard-to-count communities.

Watch this short video illustrating how a school district turned dollars into nutrition for children in need in rural Virginia.

Data: Local governments, academic institutions, philanthropic organizations, and medical facilities use census data to inform decision making and planning in education, infrastructure and transportation, emergency preparedness, disaster relief, local programs and initiatives, public health, and much more. Businesses use census data to determine new markets and where to expand, which leads to more services and more jobs in our communities.

Given this information, you can see how an undercount of children could affect the ability to assess and plan for child care needs in a community, such as new facilities, number of Head Start slots, the need for early childhood teachers, the need for early childhood teacher training and development, program support, and so on.

Check out this Quick Facts tool if you want to dig into specific data types.

Representation: Census numbers determine how many congressional representatives each state will have for the next decade and ensures accurate representation in the redistricting process. Congressional districts and each city’s wards are determined by census data. Watch this 30 second video to see representation explained.

It’s in the Constitution: If you really want to geek out on Census history, you can read more about the Census in the Constitution.

The 2020 Census timeline:

March 12 – 20: Households will begin receiving official Census Bureau mail with detailed information on how to respond to the 2020 Census online, by phone, or by mail.

April 1: Census Day is observed nationwide. By this date, every household will have received an invitation to participate in the 2020 Census. Once the invitation arrives, you should respond for your household in one of three ways: online, by phone, or by mail. When you respond to the census, you’ll tell the Census Bureau where you live as of April 1, 2020.

May – July: Census takers will begin visiting households that haven’t responded to the 2020 Census to help make sure everyone is counted.

Additional information is available about how counts will be conducted for communities that are hard to reach here: 2020census.gov.

It only takes ten minutes to fill out the Census form. Those ten minutes will have a profound impact on the next 10 years. When you think about it, that’s an entire childhood!

We will be posting tips and reminders on our social media pages about getting the word out to families in the weeks leading up to the Census, and in the months following, AND we will be hosting open office hours to provide assistance anyone who needs it to make sure everyone is counted!

Questions? Contact me at cami@denverearlychildhood.org.

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