Be 2020 Census Ready

With nearly $23 billion in federal funding at stake for various programs such as Medicaid, SNAP, child care and Head Start, all children must be counted in the upcoming 2020 Census.

Nearly 150,000 kids in the Garden State under age 5 live in “hard-to-count” (HTC) areas where a low percentage of residents completed and returned their most recent Census questionnaire. That makes up 28 percent of the total child population under age 5 in the state. These children are at greatest risk of being missed in the upcoming 2020 Census.

Young children also face unique obstacles to counting that were not the focus of prior Census outreach.

Roughly 85 percent of young children omitted in the 2010 Census lived in households that returned a Census questionnaire. That means, someone returned a Census form but left off the young child. A Census campaign focused on young children would require not only that the form be filled out and returned, but also that all people living in the household be counted.

Why the census matters for young children
Data from the Census are used to allocate funds for vital federal programs such as Medicaid, SNAP, Head Start, WIC and more. Communities where children are missed in the count risk reductions in federal funding for schools, hospitals, libraries and other resources.

In the United States, Census counts are used, in whole or in part, for more than 140 programs that distribute more than $400 billion of federal funds to states and localities, including such child-focused programs as:

    • Special Education Grants to states ($10.8 billion)
    • Head Start ($6.9 billion)
      • State Children’s Health Insurance Program ($5.9 billion)


      • Foster Care Title IV-E ($4.7 billion)


    • Improving Teacher Quality State Grants ($2.9 billion)

April 1, 2020, Census Day, may feel like ages away, but the sooner planning and outreach begins, the better.

Here are some ways organizations and municipalities can start right now to prepare:

      1. Assess the need. Do you live or work in a hard-to-count community? Resources, such as these factsheets created by ACNJ and these interactive maps allow you to identify particular areas of the state where a complete count may be difficult.


      1. Become a Census partner. Census partners receive the most current information and resources from the US Census Bureau. Learn how you can partner.


    1. Form a local complete count committee. You know your community best. A complete count committee based in your town or city can leverage its community knowledge to tailor outreach strategies to specific populations. The US Census Bureau offers these resources to help get the effort started.


Hard to count maps by NJ legislative and congressional district:

Partnership for America’s Children Census campaign page (includes resources from national experts and other states):

Leadership Conference fact sheets on hard-to-count groups and the impact of the Census on funding: