Dear Editor,

An accurate count of children during the 2020 Census will be critical to the strength of Indiana’s families, schools, and communities for years to come.

The federal government uses information collected in the Census survey to determine allocation of about $883 billion a year, with $160 billion for programs to support children. This year Indiana will receive about $18 billion in federal funding, with approximately $1 billion for K-12 programs. It is estimated that for every person missed in the count, Indiana will lose about $10,000 in federal funds over the next decade.

On April 1, 2020, the nation will recognize Census Day to earmark the commencement of the decennial count. The U.S. Constitution requires that the federal government count all persons living in the country every 10 years, regardless of age, race, ethnicity, and citizenship status. The 2020 Census survey, for the first time, will be available to complete online, as well as by phone or paper form to be returned by mail. Residents should expect correspondence on how to complete the survey in March 2020. Taking part is a civic duty and the survey is easy to complete. Furthermore, every response is confidential.

Unfortunately, children from birth to age 4 and those ages 5 to 9 are the two age groups most likely to be undercounted in the Census, as was the case in 2010; with Black and Hispanic young children having a higher net undercount than other children. One in five children were missed because their family did not return the form; four in five lived in families that returned the form but didn’t include the young child on it. We must make sure that every Hoosier child counts in the 2020 Census.

An accurate count of young children in the 2020 Census will be critical to the child’s and family’s access to resources such as housing, jobs, equitable education, and health care. Families can help make sure that #EveryHoosierChildCounts by counting each child where they sleep most of the time.

What can we do? The Every Hoosier Child Counts! Complete Count Committee, a coalition of representatives from 17 state agencies and statewide associations that support literacy, early childhood development, and K-12 education, will be promoting your participation in the 2020 Census because #EveryHoosierChildCounts. Let’s share news about the importance of the Census and promote it within our communities across the state. Together we can ensure that every Hoosier child counts!

Terry Spradlin

Executive Director, Indiana School Boards Association

Chairman, Every Hoosier Child Counts! Complete Count Committee

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