Count All Kids


October 20, 2023

Usually when you hear from CHN, it’s because we are fighting to make sure that Congress meets the needs of low-income and other vulnerable populations. But getting Congress to fund programs that serve children and families is just the first step in getting families the help they need. The next step often is that a federal agency allocates the money using census data according to whatever formula Congress chose. Sometimes that means determining how much funds will be allocated; sometimes it means allocating the amount set by Congress to states or communities. Either way, more accurate data means we do a better job of meeting the needs of vulnerable people.  

That’s why CHN helps lead Count All Kids, a campaign to improve the count of young children in census data, and also advocates to improve how the census counts other communities where many members are missed, such as communities of color. When everyone in a community is counted, the community has more political power, more funding for programs that matter for kids, and better data to manage government programs.  

So what exactly is CHN doing?  

  • We are fighting for more research exploring why children, communities of color, and others are missed in such large numbers both in the decennial census and in census surveys such as the American Community Survey. 
  • We are monitoring how new approaches to protecting individual privacy in reporting data will affect the data we advocates use; we have particularly fought (and so far won) to make sure that any new approach to privacy will allow us to continue to get meaningful child poverty data at the state and local level. 
  • We are advocating for improving the data used to allocate federal funds to make sure they go where they are most needed and where Congress meant them to go. Because the 2020 Census missed so many people, the Bureau has developed a new “blended base” approach to its post-Census population estimate series that is used to allocate many federal funds. We are working to assess whether and how this new approach affects funding for human needs programs, and how to improve its accuracy even further.  
  • The Bureau is already starting to plan for the 2030 Census. We nominated people to serve on their 2030 advisory committee, submitted comments on how to improve the 2030 census, and will continue to advocate for substantial improvements. Just a few of the issues we are raising include: 
    • Making sure the Census communications efforts are explicit on counting young children, doubled up households, temporary residents, and others often missed 
    • Identifying and addressing reasons that Hispanics, Blacks, and other communities of color (and their children) are missed at high rates 
    • Ensuring census takers can get into apartments buildings and other multi-household areas where people with lower incomes often live.
    • Urging the Census Bureau to find better ways to reach, and collect data from, the 20% or more of our adults that are functionally illiterate. 

Over the next months and years, we’ll keep you informed about this less visible, technical, but still critical, aspect of CHN’s work to make sure that federal funds are adequate and equitably allocated.