Counting Young Children in the 2020 Census

  • January 23, 2020

About 1 million children under age 5 were not counted in the last U.S. Census.  For the 2020 Census, everyone’s help is needed to close that gap.

In Arizona, early childhood supporters are sharing the message that the census is easy, safe and important to encourage more families to respond when their invitation arrives in March. Responding to the 2020 Census ensures needed resources are provided for babies, toddlers and preschoolers and their communities for the next 10 years.

Newborn babies and children under age 5 are often missed in the census. An estimated 5% of children under age 5 were not counted in the 2010 U.S. Census, the highest of any single age group.

Critical Resource Tied to 2020 Census Results

It’s important to count them because the 2020 Census helps determine which areas qualify for the critical resources that children and families depend on for the next 10 years, basically an entire childhood. When newborn babies and children are not counted, support for programs such as health insurance, hospitals, child care, food assistance, schools and early childhood development is impacted.

In addition to federal resources, an accurate complete count is critical to the work of First Things First. The organization uses census data to determine regional funding allocations, for needs and assets reporting and strategic planning for many state and local programs that impact Arizona’s young children and their families. 

2020 Census Online

This is the first time that the census documents can be filled out online – even on a mobile device – or by phone or through traditional mail-in form.  Households should start receiving communication about the census beginning in March. And families can fill out the forms online as early as March 23. If they don’t respond by late-April, a census representative will visit in person to collect responses.

Here is information you can share with families so that more kids are counted in your community:

  1. It’s easy – It only takes about 10 minutes to complete and can be done online this year.
  2. It’s safe – All census information is confidential and is only used to produce statistics.
  3. It’s important – Funding for many programs rely on accurate population counts. When children are missed, programs can miss out on funding for 10 years.

For more information about Arizona’s efforts to ensure a complete count, visit

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