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ERIC Number: ED507734
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2009-Dec
Pages: 20
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: N/A
Why Are Young Children Missed so Often in the Census? KIDS COUNT Working Paper
O'Hare, William P.
Annie E. Casey Foundation
The Decennial Census is the most important data collection activity undertaken by the U.S. federal statistical system. Because census data are used to apportion Congress and draw redistricting lines for thousands of state and local single-member districts to meet the one-person/one-vote guidelines, the census is at the heart of the political system. Also, census data are used to distribute more than $400 billion in federal funds each year, and they are widely used by other government statistical agencies to calculate rates or design surveys. Children are the age group most often missed in the Decennial Census--the reasons range from their living in hard-to-count neighborhoods to the fact that the census form only has space for complete demographic information on six household members. The fact that children are the age group missed most often in the Decennial Census comes as a surprise to many people, even those who have closely followed census issues. Despite the long-standing problem of children being missed in the Decennial Census, little has been done to examine this issue. Missed children might be referred to as the "overlooked undercount" because the undercount of children has been a persistent problem that has been given relatively little attention over time. The high undercount of children challenges the image that the undercount is made up mostly of young adults and people who dodge the census-takers for nefarious reasons. Unlike adults, who may bear some responsibility for making sure they are counted in the census, children are dependent on others to make sure they are included. Yet in 1980, 1990, and 2000, Census Bureau data show children, particularly young children, are one of the groups most likely to be missed in the census. This publication provides some background and information on the undercount of children, describes some theories about why children are missed in the census, and outlines a few ideas for reaching the parents of young children with a message about the importance of being counted in the census. (Contains 2 figures, 1 box, 10 tables and 37 endnotes.)
Annie E. Casey Foundation. 701 Saint Paul Street, Baltimore, MD 21202. Tel: 410-547-6600; Fax: 410-547-6624; Web site:
Publication Type: Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: Early Childhood Education; Elementary Education; Preschool Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: Annie E. Casey Foundation
Identifiers - Location: United States