Counting All Children in the 2020 Census in Minnesota
Resources for Partners Engaging in Outreach to Children and Families
The Census is a questionnaire used to get a population count of everyone in the U.S. that occurs every 10 years, with the next census beginning in March 2020. It is more than just a nationwide headcount – the 2020 Census will be the foundation for all data in the U.S. for the next 10 years. The Census counts all people at each address, babies, children and adults – even if they are not related, are not U.S. citizens, if they live there part time or are only living there temporarily. Policy leaders, businesses, schools and philanthropy all use and rely on census data to make important decisions for our communities. It’s very important to make sure the count is as accurate as possible to ensure equitable distribution of resources and decision-making for the next ten years in communities across Minnesota.
The 2020 Census helps decide how much money your community will get for important resources including schools, child care and early learning, summer and after school programs, health insurance and medical care, early intervention and home visiting programs, food assistance, foster care, housing assistance, and public transportation.
Minnesota receives over $15 billion per year from the federal government for programs that use census data to determine allocations, with more than $6 billion allocated for Medicaid alone. When historically undercounted communities, including young children, people of color, American Indian people, and families with low income, are not represented in the census, the decisions that affect them across sectors do not account for their needs.
The Census also decides the number of seats your state will have in the U.S. House of Representatives and how many representatives your community will have in your state legislature, county council, and even your local school board.
Currently Minnesota has 8 members in the House of Representatives, and may lose one member depending on the outcome of the 2020 Census.
Census Day is April 1, 2020. Households will be invited to fill out the Census online, over the phone, or in person. Census workers will follow up with households who do not complete the form from May through September 2020. If you have questions, you can text MN2020 for the Minnesota Census Help Desk.
It is critical that we count all kids in the Minnesota Census so that children and babies have the resources they need to be healthy and on track for a successful future. If we miss babies and young children in the census, those resources are placed at risk.
How does it work?
The Census is easy – it takes just ten minutes online, over the phone or by mail.
The Census is safe and secure. Revealing personal information from the census is a felony punishable by up to 5 years in jail and a fine up to $250,000.
The Census matters. Being counted means resources and representation are distributed accurately, equitably, and fairly.
Resources You Can Use for Outreach to Children and Families
- We Count Book and Activities
- Census Bureau Everyone Counts activity book
- Counting Young Children Census Bureau Fact Sheet
- Posters (English and Spanish)
- Videos (English and Spanish)
- Social Media graphics and text
- 15, 30 and 60 second audio and video PSA
- Videos (English and Spanish)
- Posters (English and Spanish)
- Stickers (English and Spanish)
- Social media graphics and texts (English and Spanish)
Who Should Be Counted?
If you’re not sure who to count on your Census form, think about who stayed with you on April 1, 2020
- If you share custody of a child, you can decide where to count him/her based on the address where he/she stayed on April 1.
- If a child is staying with you this day and has no permanent home, make sure you count them.
- If you are a foster care provider, count children in your care. If you have friends or relatives staying with you on April 1, even if it’s temporary or they aren’t on your lease, count them on your form.
- If you have a family member who does not live with you because he/she attends college, is in the military, is in jail, or lives in a senior living community, do not include him/her on your Census form. They will be counted separately.
- People experiencing homelessness will be counted separately at shelters, soup kitchens, and mobile food vans in spring 2020.
Remember: by law, Census information cannot be shared with a landlord or any government agency. Breaking this law has severe penalties, including a fine of up to $250,000 and/or up to five years in prison.
Why Outreach for a Complete Count of Children is Important
The Census is a count that only happens once every ten years. Children who are missed in the 2020 Census miss an opportunity to be counted for ten years – most of their childhood.
Children under age five are the most likely group to be undercounted, and the problem has worsened over the past four decades. New research has shown that young children are more likely to be missed in a census if:
- They live with single parents or young parents between the ages of 18-29.
- They are not the biological or adopted child of the householder.
- They live with their grandparents, aunts and uncles, or other family members.
- They live in families that do not speak English or their family includes immigrants.
- They live in families with low incomes.
- Their families rent rather than own their home.
The last census missed young children of color at more than twice the rate that white children were missed. Children of all races and backgrounds will grow up to build America’s future, so we must count all kids to make them a priority and to direct funding to meet their needs.
Why do children get missed?
A significant portion of children who were not counted in the last Census lived in homes that completed the census form. Why? Parents and caregivers may not include young children and babies in their Census responses due to:
- Unfamiliarity with how the Census can help their children and households
- A lack of understanding about who to include in the household
- Personal fears related to immigration status, overcrowded housing situations, and personal privacy
What’s at stake?
In 2010, we estimate that 2%, or 7,105, of children from birth through age four were missed in the Minnesota Census. If an average of $2,800 in federal dollars is allocated to Minnesota each year per person counted, that means for the past ten years, we were short around $200 million just with that undercount of babies and young children that could have been used for education, health care, housing assistance, food support, and other programs and services that help support the needs of children and families.
On average, schools lost $1,695 per year for every child missed between the ages of 5 and 18.
What can we do?
Spread the word. Every person filling out the census form needs to count EVERY CHILD living at that address, including babies.