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Children still count!

Posted: June 9 2020 at 09:12 PM
Author: Rev. Robert Biekman, United Voices for Children Board President


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The COVID-19 pandemic has made a significant impact on the operational guidelines used by the U.S. Census Bureau. Changes due to the COVID-19 pandemic in the counting process to protect the health and safety of the American public and Census Bureau employees have had a tremendous negative impact on already underrepresented and underserved groups. However, through intentional education and mobilization, faith communities can make a significant positive difference in Census return rates.

The U.S. Census Bureau conducts a count of all the people living in the country. Mandated by the U.S. Constitution, the information is used for not only determining political representation but for determining how the federal government distributes money to states for health care, education, nutrition, and many other areas. Local governments use census data for determining housing and transportation needs. Businesses use census data to determine where to locate grocery stores, restaurants, pharmacies, and other retail establishments. It is important that the Census counts every Illinois resident.

The Census brings resources to kids and families in your neighborhood. Let us make sure all communities get a full count and their fair share. See the self-response rate for the Census at voices4kids.org/northern-illinois-census-response-rates.

The 2010 Census missed nearly 36,000 Illinois children under the age of five or just over 4% of children in that age range. Nationally, children under the age of five, are one of the most undercounted groups. By researchers’ estimates the 2010 Census failed to account for one million children under the age of five nationally or 4.6% of children in this age group. Nearly one in five Illinois children (or 152,000 children) live in hard-to-count census tracts. When the Census misses those children, it impacts the federal funding for programs serving those children. 

NIC’s United Voices for Children (UVC) is collaborating with Voices for Illinois Children to increase the reach and amplify the voices of both organizations to advocate for children and families through the Census.

In the upcoming months, UVC Policy Coordinator, the Rev. Beverly Dukes will be reaching out to Northern Illinois Conference congregations to share how faith communities can impact U.S. Census outcomes in a positive way. The immediacy of the COVID-19 pandemic crisis has taken attention from the 2020 U.S. Census, however, the Census is essential to addressing the root causes of issues in communities hardest hit by the virus. 

To fill out the Census, visit 2020census.gov.

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