LatinaLista — When it comes to the 2010 Census, there has been so much attention given to those Latino leaders who are still trying to convince people not to register for the census – which is not a cool move, by the way – that it’s not even realized that there is a much bigger problem on the horizon with the 2010 Census that could adversely impact Latino families.
A new report by The Annie E. Casey Foundation, Why Are Young Children Missed So Often in the Census? tells us that:
According the Census Bureau’s Demographic Analysis, young children are missed at a higher rate than any other age group. In the 2000 census, there was a net undercount of more than 1 million children under age 10. More than three- quarters of a million children under age 5 were missed, which amounts to 4 percent of this population group.
Minority children have higher undercount rates, and the share of children age 0 to 4 that are from a racial or Hispanic minority population rose from 41 percent in 2000 to 47 percent in 2008.
More children live in families with one or more undocumented immigrants. Nearly half (47 percent) of unauthorized-immigrant households are couples with children. The number of children with at least one unauthorized-immigrant parent increased from 3.9 million in 2003 to 5.5 million in 2008.
The undercount of children results in reduced funding for needy families. Census counts are used, in whole or in part, for more than 140 programs that distribute more than $400 billion of federal funds to states and localities…
The report’s author found that Census officials don’t even have any estimates for the undercount rates of Hispanic, American Indian, or Asian children from the 2000 census. In fact, the author found that there exists a persistent pattern over several censuses showing racial and Hispanic minorities are more likely to be missed than non-Hispanic whites.
A variety of reasons are proposed in the report as to why children are being undercount — not enough room on the old census forms, parents either get distracted or tired of filling out the form or questions aren’t understood completely, etc.
Yet, the repercussions for not filling out the forms are real:
When children are not counted accurately we don’t get a true picture of our nation, and communities don’t get their rightful share of public funds or political power. A recent analysis by Census Bureau staff identified more than 140 federal programs that use Census Bureau data in the distribution of funds.
In addition, school planners are confronted with more children than they expect, resulting in increased class size and over- crowded schools.
Another analysis shows how the estimate of children in poverty is affected by the undercount of children in the Decennial Census.
Not to mention that inaccurate data may lead private foundations and nonprofit organizations to make mistaken decisions about where to focus resources or may lead the private sector to miss business opportunities.
In these changing times where more accountability will be placed on local institutions and families to make sure families stay as healthy as possible and children are fully prepared academically to achieve success, every extra program that aids in those areas needs the federal financial resources to continually effect the kinds of changes that will benefit today’s children, who are tomorrow’s adults — and caregivers of this nation’s economy.