The U.S. Constitution mandates that, once a decade, America counts its population. The U.S. Census counts every person living in the United States.
The data collected by the decennial census determine a number of things, including the number of seats each state has the U.S. House of Representatives (a process called apportionment). The data is also used to distribute billions of dollars in federal funds to local communities for programs like Head Start, Medicaid, and school nutrition.
The next Census in 2020 will require counting an increasingly diverse and growing population of around 330 million people in more than 140 million housing units. This logical challenges puts the most vulnerable of America’s citizens — children — at risk of being undercounted.
Young children under the age of 5 are undercounted at a higher rate than any other age group. Nearly 4.5 million children live in hard-to-count neighborhoods, including those who live in complicated living arrangements, moving among relatives and caregivers.
When children are undercounted, their communities are denied a full voice in policy decision making.
Recently, Voices teamed up with the Georgia Early Education Alliance for Ready Students (GEEARS) to talk about the challenges facing children in our state and some potential solutions.