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Counting the little ones in the Census


Irving, Texas. July 2, 2020

Feedings, diaper changes, crying, laughing, bedtimes, the need for constant attention, babies and toddlers are hard to ignore, but when it comes to the U.S. Census, they are often forgotten.

In the 2010 Census, more than one million children were not included in the count, which meant fewer resources in their communities for social support programs, education and other services that directly impact children.

“Being counted in the 2020 Census is about building for the future, making sure that our families and our communities will have access to the funds and resources they need to prosper,” said Sophia Johnson, President, ABI. “We are urging adults not to forget those babies who were born in the past year or the toddlers who are running around the house. Every one living in the household should be counted regardless of age.”

The allocation of much of the money that funds these types of programs is determined through the Census population count every decade. Programs include new school construction, free and reduced lunch and breakfast, Head Start, special education, foster care, Medicaid, and the Children’s Health Insurance Program, childcare as well as housing assistance to help a child’s family.

Filling out the Census in 2020 should be easier than ever with more options in more languages. For the first time this year, households can complete the short and simple form online, by phone or by mail. It just takes 10 minutes to have everyone in the household counted, including young children.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, young children are particularly at risk of not being counted in the 2020 Census, especially those with complex living arrangements like dividing their time between divorced parents, living with adults who are not their parents or living with multiple families under one roof. In the 2010 Census, about 40 percent of all young children fell under the complex-household category.

Experts speculate that undercounting children among blacks and Latinos is more common because these communities traditionally hard to count, and children also are more likely to live in blended and multi-generational families.

To avoid leaving young children out of this year’s count, experts recommend counting them:

  • In the home where they live and sleep most of the time, even if their parents do not live there.
  • In the home the children stay most often if their time is evenly divided, or where they were staying on April 1, 2020. To further clarify, babies born after April 1, 2020 are not to be included as a member of the household.

For more information about the census and how to be counted, visit

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