Counting All Kids in the 2020 Census

Did you know that approximately 2.2 million children were missed in the 2010 Census? Or that young children had by far the worst undercount of any age group?

Every year more than $26 billion in federal funds is allocated to Pennsylvania based on census data. Here are some of the programs that affect children’s lives for which funding is based in whole or in part on census data:

  • Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) and Medicaid
  • Child Care and Development Block Grant (CCDBG) Head Start/Early Head Start
  • Title 1 grants to local education agencies
  • Special Education Grants (IDEA)
  • Women, Infants and Children
  • Title IV-E Foster Care

It’s important to ensure parents and guardians in hard-to-count areas understand the detrimental effects of an undercount of young children and the numerous programs critical for family stability and opportunity that would be at risk.

Kids aren’t counted in the census for a lot of different reasons…

  • The child splits time between two homes.
  • The child lives or stays with another family or with another relative such as a grandparent.
  • The child lives in a household with young parents or a young, single mom.
  • The child lives in a household that is large, multigenerational, or includes extended or multiple families.
  • The child is a newborn.
  • The child lives in a non-English or limited-English speaking household.
  • The child lives in a lower income household.
  • The child lives in a household of recent immigrants or foreign-born adults.
  • The child lives in a household that rents or recently moved.
  • The child lives in a household where they’re not supposed to be, for one reason or another.
  • A child who is staying temporarily with family or friends but has no permanent home.

Still, wherever a child is living on April 1st is where they should be counted, even if it is a temporary living situation!

The bottom line? We MUST count all kids, or we risk shortchanging communities. Sign up for “A Voice for Kids” to receive updates about counting all kids in the 2020 Census.

Download our 2020 Census Toolkit

Ways to Respond to the 2020 Census

  • For the first time, you can choose to complete the Census online, by phone, or by mail
  • Homes began receiving their invitation to respond on March 12th, and all invitations will be out by March 20th
    • These official Census Bureau mailings include detailed information and a Census ID for completing the Census online.
  • Visit for more information on filling out the form online, by phone or by mail

Key Dates

  • March 12 – April 30: Self-Response Operation
    • Mailing 1: March 12-20
    • Mailing 2: Reminder letter, March 16-24
    • Mailing 3: Reminder postcard, March 26 – April 3
    • Mailing 4: Reminder letter plus paper questionnaire, April 8-16
    • Mailing 5: “It’s not too late” postcard, April 20-27
  • May 13 – July 31: Non-Response Follow-Up
    • April 9: “Early Non-Response Follow-Up” starts in neighborhoods with large off-campus college student populations
  • July 31: Last day for households to self-respond online, by phone or by mail

Addressing Concerns About Privacy

  • Responses to the 2020 Census are safe, secure, and protected by federal law
  • Answers can only be used to produce statistics—they cannot be used against anyone in any way
  • By law, all responses to U.S. Census Bureau household and business surveys are kept completely confidential

COVID-19 and the Census

On March 15, 2020, the U.S. Census Bureau announced some adjustments to 2020 Census operations to protect the health and safety of the public and its staff, while fulfilling its statutory requirements for delivery of its counts on schedule.

The U.S. Census Bureau will closely follow guidance from public health authorities when conducting this operation, as they do when conducting all field operations. If the U.S. Census Bureau needs to delay or discontinue nonresponse follow-up visits in a community, they will adapt their operation to ensure a complete and accurate count.

Currently, the planned completion date for data collection for the 2020 Census is July 31, 2020, but that date may be adjusted as the situation evolves. The start of certain operations will be delayed. March 12 through April 1, the U.S. Census Bureau is mailing out census invitations nationwide. Every household will receive their invite by April 1 with information about how to respond online, by mail, or by phone.

2020 Census Operations that are being modified include the following:

  • Mobile Questionnaire Assistance will be offered fully across the country on April 13, delaying from the previously planned start of March 30
  • Nonresponse follow-up operations with census takers are planned to begin on April 23, delaying from April 9
  • Working with group quarter administrators, including nursing homes, college dorms, prisons, and other institutional living facilities, encouraging counting methods like eResponse that minimize in-person contact

Guidance for Community Partners: Community partners are encouraged to follow guidance from public health authorities regarding events and group activities – including those related to the 2020 Census. The latest guidance and updates about COVID-19 in Pennsylvania can be found at the PA Department of Health website:

Resources to Help Get Out the Count

For Advocates & Stakeholders

For Business

For Elected Officials

For Military

For Parents, Families & Caregivers

  • NALEO’s Make Yourself Count in 2020 factsheets in English and Spanish

For People with Disabilities

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