News

February 4, 2020

2020 Census | Count All Kids to Reinforce Early Education

Did you know that in 2010, five percent of children under the age of five weren’t counted in the 2010 Census? That’s roughly one million young children, the highest of any age group. To ensure all young children have access to high-quality, affordable early learning experiences, we must #CountAllKids in the upcoming 2020 Census.

About

The United States Census informs funding decisions for critical services and infrastructure in our communities, including the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP); the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Toddlers (WIC); and the Child Care and Development Block Grant (CCDBG) to name a few. However, in the 2010 U.S. Census, there was an undercount of 25,197 children in Pennsylvania, resulting in the loss of nearly $44 million in federal funding. That’s roughly $1,746 lost for every child who wasn’t counted. Undercounts like this negatively impact Pennsylvania’s children and families, as social service programs are unable to provide services to all eligible families due to limited funding.

Why It Matters

In their report “The Road to Success Includes High-Quality Pre-K,” Pre-K for PA states that “high-quality, publicly funded pre-k programs prepare students for kindergarten and beyond by supporting the development of the whole child.” When a child is 3- or 4-years-old, they’re developing critical skills like problem-solving, emotional self-regulation, collaboration, and more. These social-emotional skills are what the Harvard Education Magazine calls an “on-ramp” to later academic success. In fact, Pre-K for PA states that “studies of children who were enrolled in high-quality social-emotional learning programs have shown that ‘[enrolled children] score, on average, 11 percentage points higher on academic tests than children who do not receive such instruction.'”

However, due to limited funding, “in nearly two out of three state Senate districts, less than half of eligible preschoolers attend a high-quality pre-k program. In half of the state House districts, less than 40 percent of eligible 3- and 4-year-olds are currently attending one.” Limited access to such programs is negatively impacting the lives of young children, as “children from low-income families are a year or more behind their more advantaged peers.”

One partial solution to these issues is to ensure that all kids are counted in the upcoming 2020 Census. While an accurate count may not entirely eliminate issues of access, quality, and affordability, it will ensure that Pennsylvania receives federal dollars needed to provide health and social services to eligible families in the Commonwealth. Will you help us raise awareness about the need to #CountAllKids!

Click here to view Pre-K for PA’s full report.

Available Tools

Pennsylvania Partnerships for Children

To help increase awareness about the 2020 Census, Pennsylvania Partnerships for Children developed a toolkit that features factsheets, posters, social media images, and social media post templates. In addition to the toolkit, Pennsylvania Partnerships for Children highlighted a list of resources for advocates, stakeholders, businesses, elected officials, military members, parents, caregivers, families, and people with disabilities. To access the full list, visit the Pennsylvania Partnerships for Children website.

2020 Census: Be Counted

2020 Census: Be Counted provides information and resources to Pittsburgh and Allegheny County residents about the upcoming U.S. Census. The website highlights important dates, census submission options, an example of the questionnaire, frequently asked questions (FAQs), and more. For organizations, the website offers a toolkit, email newsletter, mini-grants, and more.

Request a Mail-In Ballot

Pennsylvania is now offering two options community members can choose from to submit their vote if they are unable to get to the polls on election day, including a mail-in ballot and absentee ballot. Registered voters can submit either ballot via mail or in person at their county election office. To request a mail-in ballot, please complete the online application by clicking here.

Both mail-in and absentee voters will receive a ballot in the mail to complete and return to their county election office by 8 p.m. on election day.

More Information

If you’re interested in learning more about the 2020 Census, read our “Count All Kids in the 2020 Census” news post. The post features additional resources and information about who counts, submitting your data, safety, confidentiality, and more.

*Information provided by Pennsylvania Partnerships for Children, Pre-K for PA, and the United States Census Bureau

Image: A group of young children sit together in a circle on the ground, writing on pieces of paper and talking to an early learning professional.