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Making Sure Kids Get Counted

U. S. Census Bureau

Now that schools and many offices are closed due to coronavirus, families have more time for other activities like filling out the Census.

And though door knockers are on hiatus, advocates want every resident counted, especially the little ones with a big impact.

Every ten years, residents are required to document who lives and sleeps in a single home on April 1, but sometimes family members get left out.  "Children are actually the most-missed demographic group," according to Lauren Snellings, the research director at Voices for Virginia’s Children.  "A lot of times when parents fill out the Census, they either are confused about including their children or think that they shouldn’t be counted."

Voices for Virginia’s Children is part of Kids Count, a national network through the Annie E. Casey Foundation. Their data indicates that Virginia was one of the top states to undercount people ages 4 and under on the 2010 Census.

Snellings says that resulted in a loss of millions of dollars in healthcare and education funds.  "So that baby missed that’s not counted on the Census this time around is going to be going to elementary school with overcrowded schools, with not enough funding. "

Now, she’s counting on caretakers to make sure they get the numbers right for the next generation. 

The Census can be completed over the phone, by mail or online.

This report, provided by Virginia Public Radio, was made possible with support from the Virginia Education Association.