Over the next 10 years critical decisions affecting Nebraska families and communities will be made based on Census data gathered this year. Census numbers influence the amount of federal funding received for health insurance and medical care, fire departments, roads, housing and even how many Congressional seats each state receives.
“Census results affect Nebraska communities every day,” said FFN Policy Research Analyst Ben Baumfalk. “They help determine funding for important programs that support children, including schools, child care and early learning, home visiting and food assistance among many other things.”
States lose funds when children are undercounted
Young children are historically undercounted in the Census. Nationally, the 2010 Census missed more than 2 million children under age 5 which resulted in states losing more than half-a-billion dollars every year for child care and health and foster care. On average, schools lost $1,695 per year for every child missed between ages 5 and 18. To make sure Nebraska is represented accurately, it’s critically important that everyone, including children and babies born by April 1, 2020, living at an address be counted, even if they’re extended family or not related to the person who fills out the form.
“So far, Nebraskans are doing an outstanding job responding to the Census, currently ranking fifth nationally behind Michigan, Iowa, Wisconsin and Minnesota,” said Baumfalk. “We want to make sure the strong response continues so communities and families will have access to the programs and services they need in the years ahead.“
Recent research found that people who are least likely to complete the Census or count their children are younger parents, low income or immigrant families, along with people in complex and/or transitional household situations. And many of those families are among the most reliant on programs that receive federal funding.
What does the Census ask and not ask?
The Census form asks nine questions about the people living at each address, including name, age, country of origin/race, gender and whether the person filling out the Census form owns or rents the dwelling at that address.
It does not ask if residents at the address are U.S. citizens, nor does it ask about income, Social Security number, political party or immigration status. By law, the Census Bureau may not share identifiable information collected, even with other governmental agencies.
For more information, visit Census.gov or call 844-330-2020 (English) or 844-468-2020 (Spanish).