Dear North Carolina Congressional Delegation,
With the 2020 decennial census only three years away, we are working together in North Carolina to help achieve a complete and accurate count of all of our state’s residents. Based on current levels of proposed funding, we are concerned about the Census Bureau’s ability implement a successful 2020 enumeration. Among our key concerns is the potential undercount of children ages 0-4 in our state.
The first step in understanding and addressing the needs of North Carolina children is knowing basic facts about where they live and how old they are; their health, economic and educational circumstances; and how many there are.
That’s why getting an accurate census count is essential to the well-being of our state’s children. The census directly affects the allocation of $16.3 billion in federal resources to our state. It ensures that these resources are directed strategically and that the needs of children in rural and other communities are appropriately represented in the statehouse and in Congress.
Regrettably, children ages 0-4 are at a higher risk of being undercounted in the census. The Census Bureau estimates that over 25,000 young children in North Carolina were not counted in the 2010 census, the 8th highest amount in the country. When young children are left out of the census it means fewer resources for critical programs that promote healthy growth and development during early childhood, like Head Start, the Child Care and Development Block Grant, and the Maternal and Child Health Service Block Grant.
Congress is currently engaged in budget negotiations that will determine the accuracy and completeness of the census count nationally and in North Carolina. Unfortunately, the latest House budget proposal falls more than $300 million short of adequately funding census efforts. Inadequate funding has already forced cancellation of two of three scheduled comprehensive census field tests and delayed important outreach activities. These cancellations and delays mean fewer field test opportunities prior to the decennial census leaving operations vulnerable to costly, backend challenges as Census Day approaches.
A higher funding level is required to ensure an accurate and complete 2020 Census, to avoid large cost increases during decennial census field operations that result from inadequate planning and preparation, and to preserve the quality of vital datasets that inform policymaking on behalf of children and youth.
The Constitution gives Congress responsibility for getting the census right. A failed census would mean fewer resources and opportunities for North Carolinians, including our youngest residents. We urge members of Congress to prioritize funding for the 2020 Census to ensure an accurate and complete count in North Carolina.
NOTE: Organization name and city will be listed on the letter.
Thank you for supporting an accurate 2020 census.
If you have questions about this letter or census campaign efforts, please email Adam Sotak.