Children Count Too

Census in Schools

One in five school-age children in the United States is Latino. If the 2010 census is going to succeed, it must count all of these approximately 11 million youngsters.

The census has special consequences for children. It helps determine funding to states and localities for such programs as:

  • Medicaid
  • Head Start
  • The State Children's Insurance Program
  • School lunch programs
  • Child Care Development Block Grants
  • Federal and state funding for elementary and secondary education

Census Banner

Yet past censuses have missed children more than any other age group. A key reason is lack of room on the form. Those filling it out tend to list adults first and, if space runs out, they are most apt to omit children.

Other factors increase the undercount among Latino youngsters, including:

  • The high percentage of Latino families living in dense, urban communities
  • The large number of renters and the tendency to move more frequently
  • Lower levels of English language skills. Approximately 7.9 million Latino school-age children speak Spanish at home.
  • The fear of information leaking across government agencies

We cannot afford to leave our children out of the 2010 Census. Without a true count, programs will lack the funding they merit, and the results will affect the lives of families across the country.

The most important solution is the Census in Schools program, "Census in Schools: Children Helping Themselves Get Counted" The Census Bureau began the Census in Schools program in 2000, in response to the difficulty in tallying youngsters. It puts the census right into the school curriculum, in a way that promotes both greater awareness and data literacy. Children then bring the message-the importance of the census-to their parents and guardians and it spreads into "hard to count" portions of the community. The program thus helps increase the tally of both children and the general public.

Resources Available:

Census in Schools materials developed by Scholastics, click here.
Families in Schools Guide for Early Care and Preschool Providers, click here.
Families in Schools Parent Brochure, click here.
Families in Schools Census Lesson Plan Preschool (1), click here.