An undercount would affect the state’s infrastructure and congressional representation for a decade
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: February 28, 2019
English language: Whitney Tucker, NC Child, 803-629-3503 (cell)
Spanish language: Amanda Bosquez, NALEO Educational Fund 361-548-6989 (cell)
RALEIGH, NC – Nearly 300 federal programs that provide support to families rely on data derived from the U.S. Census, which is conducted every 10 years. In North Carolina alone, more than $16 billion annually in federal funding is dependent on an accurate count. These federal funds are used to support road construction, first responder services, school lunches, foster care, and other vital programs that North Carolina families depend on.
A new report from NC Child and NALEO Educational Fund, “The Statewide Implications of Undercounting Latino Children,” explores one of the major factors that could thwart a complete and accurate count of North Carolina residents and the distribution of critical funding for the state.
Approximately 109,000 of North Carolina’s children under age five (17.8 percent) are Latino, comprising nearly one out of every five children in the state. Young Latino children are particularly likely to be undercounted, because they are overrepresented in populations considered hard-to-count by the U.S. Census Bureau, which include:
- Children under age five;
- Racial and ethnic minorities;
- People who do not speak English as a first language;
- Low-income families; and
- Migrant families.
“It is so important that North Carolina’s Census Commission make a concerted effort to reach Latino families ahead of the 2020 Census,” said Whitney Tucker, research director at NC Child. “If the state’s demographic data are inaccurate, we will feel the consequences for the next decade.”
“The persistent undercount of the nation’s second largest population group is a civil rights issue,” stated Juliana Cabrales, mid-Atlantic director of civic engagement at NALEO Educational Fund. “Unless we bring Latino youth out of the shadows and into the light in Census 2020, the Latino community in North Carolina will continue to have disproportionate access to fair political representation and public services. We must make the investments necessary today to ensure a full and accurate count of Latino children tomorrow.”
The report includes recommendations for community members and elected officials, including:
- Local leaders can form “Complete Count Committees” to help coordinate resources and mobilize people;
- North Carolina’s legislators should allocate adequate funding from for a coordinated plan of education and outreach to hard-to-count communities; and
- The US Census Bureau should remove the question on citizenship in order to ensure a full and complete count of immigrant communities.
North Carolina’s legislators will consider in 2019 whether to appropriate approximately $1.5 million for Census engagement efforts. The investments of funds now would help secure a full count of Latino children that would ensure the equitable distribution of political power and more than $100 billion in federal funds to North Carolina over the next 10 years.
Individuals can get involved in Census efforts at census.nc.gov. The new report, “The Statewide Implications of Undercounting Latino Children,” is available now in English and Spanish.
About NC Child
NC Child builds a strong North Carolina by advancing public policies to ensure all children – regardless of race, ethnicity, or place of birth – have the opportunity to achieve their full potential.
About NALEO Educational Fund
NALEO Educational Fund is the nation’s leading non-partisan, non-profit organization that facilitates the full participation of Latinos in the American political process, from citizenship to public service.