What’s Haunting Me This Halloween: The Specter of Bad Data

Written by: Sarah Hughes
Date Posted: October 26, 2018

Although it’s October of 2018, we’re already thinking ahead to 2020—specifically, the 2020 Census. Charged with counting every adult, child and baby living in the United States, the next decennial census is rapidly approaching, and child advocates have work to do to make sure we count all kids in 2020.

in Colorado, 19% of kids under age 5 are at risk of being missed in 2020 census

Historically, the census has done a better job counting some people than others. Young children under age 5 are more likely to be missed by the census than any other age group, and children of color are particularly at risk of being missed. During the last decennial census in 2010, more than two million American children under 5 weren’t counted, and young children in Colorado were undercounted by 5 percent. What happens when young kids aren’t counted in the census? For starters, critical data on children in our state will be inaccurate for the next 10 years—a decade of bad data. 

And it’s not just data nerds who should care about the consequences of undercounting our kids. Census data are vital in making decisions about where to build new schools, where to open hospitals or health care clinics, and what policies are needed to help kids and families thrive. When kids are missed by the census, communities face crowded classrooms, underfunded programs and misleading research. Accurate census data mean communities get the support they need.

This week, the Partnership for America’s Children and Children’s Leadership Council launched a website to help child advocates across the country prepare to count ALL kids in 2020. Visit CountAllKids.org for resources to help educate yourself and others in your community about how you can ensure every kid is counted in the 2020 Census, and be sure to sign up to join the Count All Kids Campaign to receive important updates about the campaign’s work. We all have a role to play in making sure every Colorado kid counts in 2020.

Sarah Hughes

About Sarah Hughes

Sarah Hughes is the Research Director for the Colorado Children’s Campaign. In this role, she leads the organization’s research and data efforts – including the development and publication of the annual KIDS COUNT in Colorado! report. Prior to joining the Children’s Campaign, Sarah worked in PR and communications, as well as working directly with children and adolescents in various capacities. She holds a Master of Social Work with a specialization in Advocacy, Leadership, and Social Change from the University of Illinois and a B.S. in Business and Political Science from Washington University in St. Louis.