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Children Count Too!

March 08, 2010
Robert Groves

It’s often a surprise to many people when they learn that children tend to be undercounted in US censuses. Most can imagine various types of adults who fail to participate in censuses, but don’t immediately think of children being missed.

Based on prior evaluations there are two basic reasons for the phenomenon. First, the adult groups that tend to be undercounted also tend to have more children in their homes. Failing to have the households participate means that we disproportionately fail to include children. Secondly, there some evidence that the adults filling out the census questionnaire tend to forget babies and very young children. This might be due to the misconception that the census is designed more to record adults than young children.

Today, we launched the “Children Count Too” public awareness campaign to remind parents to include babies and young children on their 2010 Census forms. To help us with this campaign, we have enlisted a very important celebrity — Dora the Explorer! Tomorrow, I’m going to a news conference where we will unveil a public service announcement in both English and Spanish featuring Dora.

All of this is important because if parents do not count their newborn on the form this March, their child will essentially be invisible over the next 10 years until they reach the 4th grade, when the 2020 Census comes around. Census data are used to determine the allocation of more than $26 billion for educational services and other programs focused on children.

If for no other reason, parents of small children should participate in the census because their children can be the beneficiaries.

Please submit any questions pertaining to this post to

Director Robert Groves

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