According to Idaho youth advocates, children and babies in some parts of the state are “at a very high risk” of not being counted in the 2020 census.
Idaho Voices for Children said in a press release Wednesday that thousands of young children in the Boise Bench area, Nampa, Idaho Falls and Coeur d’Alene are at risk of being missed in the 2020 census.
“If children are not accurately counted in the 2020 census, Idaho could miss out on its full share of federal funding for programs that support children and their families over the next ten years,” the release said.
The 2020 census is available online for the first time this year.
Most households have received information in the mail to respond to the census online. If households have not responded by April 8, a reminder with a paper questionnaire will be sent to households that have not responded.
From April 20-27, a final reminder will go out to any households that have not responded. This will be the last paper reminder before a census worker comes to households that haven’t responded.
The census is about 10 questions long. Children should be counted in the home where they live most of the time.
The outbreak of COVID-19 in the United States has brought challenges for the 2020 census. The Census Bureau announced plans on March 16 to postpone field work until April.
According to the release, the 2010 census missed more than 2 million children under age 5, costing states $550 million per year in lost federal funding for the Children’s Health Insurance Program, Medicaid, foster care, adoption and child care services. On average, public schools lost $1,695 per year for every school-aged child missed.
“Each additional child counted in Idaho means more funding for the services that promote opportunity and help them and their families thrive,” said Lisa Young, community outreach specialist at Idaho Voices for Children in the release. “With schools, libraries and daycares closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s increasingly difficult to get ‘Count All Kids’ messages and materials to people with young children. We need everyone’s help to spread the word now while people are filling out their Census forms at home.”
Idaho Voice for Children is calling on child care centers, pediatricians, schools, teacher unions, diaper banks and social service agencies to share “Count All Kids” messaging materials with their clients to ensure they are counted in this year’s census.