NC Child is focused on making sure every child in North Carolina is counted in the 2020 Census.
It is essential for everyone to participate in the 2020 Census. The census result determines funding for the services we all depend on, like first responders, schools, roads, and child care.
More than $16 billion in federal funding to North Carolina each year depends on an accurate census count.
In 2010, the Census missed more than 25,000 young children in North Carolina – one of the highest undercounts in the nation. As a result, North Carolina lost billions in federal funding for our essential infrastructure and public services. We also lost a seat in Congress.
Who is most likely to be missed?
Children under five are most likely to be missed in the census count – especially children from Black and Latinx families.
You can help to ensure a complete count in your local community. Connect with the NC Counts Coalition.
Get resources in Spanish and English tailored to the Latinx community. Connect with NALEO Education Fund.
Get more information on the importance of an accurate census count in North Carolina. Visit the official North Carolina Census site.
More information from NC Child
Fact Sheet: Young Children and Census 2020
Fact Sheet: The Cost of a Census Undercount
Fact Sheet: Make Kids Count: Wake County
Webinar: Carry a Powerful Message: Making Sure NC’s Latino Community Counts in Census 2020
Census Day is Wednesday April 1, 2020.
Watch your mailbox for a postcard from the US Census Bureau. That postcard contains a website, and a code that is unique to your household. You can fill out the census yourself, on your own schedule, and it only takes about 10 minutes to complete.
If you do not fill out the census form, a census worker will come to your house to ensure that you take part in the census.
What is the Census?
The census is a count of every person living in the United States. It is required by the U.S. Constitution (Article I, Section 2). The primary purpose of the census, as mandated in the Constitution, is to determine how seats in the U.S. House of Representatives are assigned among the states. The results of the census are also used to determine how $800 billion in federal funding is distributed among the states each year.
Why is the census so important for children and families?
Programs that every single parent and child depend on get their funding determined by the census count. These include infrastructure like roads, fire departments, hospitals, and schools, as well as programs like Medicare, Medicaid, and school lunches.
Why do I have to fill out the Census form? Doesn’t the government already have all my information?
No. The federal government is not one big office with a giant supercomputer crunching all government data in one place.
If the Census doesn’t go out and count every person where they live, and find out more about their household, then none of the agencies in the federal government or the states will be able to plan their work. The Census is the only source for all that data.
Who do I count?
Count every single person residing in your home. Count every child, including babies. The census counts everyone living in the United States, regardless or citizenship status or age.
Why do I need to count a newborn baby who is not even in school yet?
Even a baby born on April 1, 2020 should be counted in the Census.
The Census only happens once every ten years. The results of the 2020 Census will last until that newborn baby is ten years old. In order to plan correctly for things like school construction and child care services, we must count every baby and child in the 2020 Census.
Will the Census Bureau keep my information private?
Yes. By law (13 U.S. Code § 9), information gathered from the census is 100% confidential and cannot be shared with any other government agency. Census workers take an oath to protect the privacy of the information collected. They can face jail time and heavy fines if they violate that oath.
How is the census taken?
The 2020 Census will be the first Decennial Census where people will be counted over the internet. The U.S. Census Bureau will send every U.S. household a postcard before Census Day (April 1). That postcard will contain a link to fill out the census, as well as a code that is unique to that household. The code lets the Census Bureau know that the household has completed the census. If they do not, the Census Bureau will mail a paper questionnaire to the household. If the Census Bureau does not receive a response on paper, a census worker will come to the house to help that person fill out the form.
Households will be able to choose to respond via the traditional census-taking methods, including over the phone, and on paper forms.
Why do we have to count non-citizens in the census?
The Decennial Census was established in Article I, Section 2 of the U.S. Constitution to count U.S. residents, not citizens. Census data allows communities and businesses to plan for things like emergency preparedness, housing development, new product development, and job markets.
What is the status of the citizenship question on the census form?
In June 2019, the Supreme Court blocked the proposed citizenship question from being added to the 2020 census forms. Many who work with immigrants – documented and undocumented – reported that a citizenship question would have led to a much more inaccurate census. When people are afraid to fill out the form, everyone in the household can be left out of the count.
Where are college students, prisoners, and other people living in group quarters supposed to be counted?
These people should be counted at their “usual residence” – wherever they live and sleep most of the time.
If I disagree with some aspect of the census, is boycotting it the best way to show that?
No. Refusing to fill out the census form will cause a census worker to be sent to your home for follow-up. Under Title 13 of the U.S. Code, you can be fined up to $100 for refusing to fill out a census form, and $500 for knowingly answering questions falsely. Incomplete forms will cause your community to have less accurate data, and potentially fewer resources long-term.
Why is community involvement important in the census?
The US Census Bureau does not have the budget or the community connections to do it all. They rely on community groups and leaders to spread the word about the importance of the census – especially in communities that are likely to be undercounted. Local Complete Count Committees are the best way for advocates to get involved in the ‘Get Out the Count’ process, with an emphasis on leaders or “trusted messengers” in Latinx, immigrant, and other communities that are often undercounted.
What role does the state play in the census?
North Carolina has a Governor-appointed state Complete Count Commission that consists of 32 members representing a wide range of constituencies. The Commission is chaired by NC Department of Administration Secretary Machelle Sanders. The Commission provides strategic direction to local Complete Count Committees on messaging, outreach, and coordination as Census Day 2020 approaches.