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Why is the census data important?

Census data determine the distribution of more than $675 billion nationally in federal funds each year. This funding includes the two biggest allocations from the U.S. Department of Education to states — Title I aid for disadvantaged students, which totaled $15.8 billion in fiscal year 2018, and special education grants to states, which was $12.3 billion in fiscal year 2018.

Studies suggest that states can lose between $1,000 and $1,500 for each person not counted. In Wisconsin, the total “undercounted” population is more than 613,000 according to the Hard to Count 2020 Project. The U.S. Department of Commerce estimated that Wisconsin was in the top 10 states to have lost out on federal funding following the 2010 census due to the number of its residents not counted.

Which children are most at risk of
being missed?  

  • Children under the age of 5 (it is estimated that the 2010 census missed 10% of all children under age 5)
  • Children living in multi-family, multi-generational or single parent households, particularly if the parent is young
  • Children living below the poverty level
  • Children living in households that rent or have moved recently
  • Children who split time between two homes, live with other relatives or live in places they are not supposed to be (with a grandparent in senior housing for instance)
  • Children living in non-English or limited-English speaking households

Census 2020: Count Every Child

The nation’s 24th census is under way. Since 1790, every 10 years the federal government counts every living person in the U.S. and its territories. Participation is required by law. For the first time, the census can be completed online.

What can your board do to ensure an accurate count?

  • Include information about the census on board agendas.
  • Submit an op-ed on the importance of the census to your local media.
  • Share information about the census through social media platforms and newsletters and at school district events, including extracurricular activities.
  • Share information about the importance of the census with community organizations, youth groups and school-affiliated organizations such as parent-teacher groups.
  • Provide access to district facilities for families to complete the census online or share guidance on how to complete the census using standard forms or by phone.
  • Provide interpreters for families in need of language assistance. Share information that the online form and telephone line will be available in 13 languages, and language guides will be available in 59 languages other than English.

For more information, visit:

Key Census Dates

  • March 2020: Households will begin receiving official Census Bureau mail and can begin responding to the 2020 census online at, by mail or by phone.
  • April 1, 2020: National Official Census Day. By this date, every home will receive an invitation to participate in the Census. Respondents will tell the Census Bureau where they live as of April 1, 2020.
  • May-July 2020: Non-response follow-up begins. Census takers go door-to-door to count people who have not responded.
  • Dec. 31, 2020: The population count and the apportionment of seats in the U.S. House of Representatives by state is delivered to the president.
  • 2021: Initial 2020 Census data made available to the public on


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