Although April 1 has come and gone, it is not too late to respond to the 2020 Census. The response rate as of April 24 in Sierra County was just 11.2%, one of the lowest response rates in California and well below the statewide figure of 54.2% If you haven’t responded already, make sure you are counted and respond now at my2020census.gov or complete and return the paper questionnaire the Census Bureau may have sent you earlier. If you are unable to respond online or need assistance, please call toll-free 1-844-330-2020.
The U.S. Census Bureau is working to ensure the 2020 Census counts all children living in Sierra County.
Being counted in the census impacts critical childhood services for the next 10 years. According to the Census Bureau, an estimated 1 million children under the age of 5 were not counted in the last decennial census. Young children are also at risk of not being counted in the 2020 Census, especially those with complex living arrangements like dividing their time between divorced parents or living with multiple families under one roof.
Consider this: A newborn or toddler counted in the 2020 Census will be finishing elementary school in time for the 2030 Census. Being counted in the census impacts critical childhood services for the next 10 years.
Results of the 2020 Census will inform federal funds that Sierra County receives for services including those that benefit children, such as Head Start, special education, after-school programs, school lunch assistance, children’s health insurance, child care, and housing support.
There are many reasons young children are undercounted in the census. Research shows that children living with large, extended families or with multiple families under one roof are at greater risk of being missed. These children may have more than one home and may not be related to the person responding to the census for their household.
Children living in linguistically isolated or low-income households and those who recently moved may also be missed in the count. Babies under 3 months old may be at an even higher risk of not being counted.
Here are Census Bureau guidelines for counting children if you have not yet responded:
- Count them in the home where they live and sleep most of the time, even if their parents do not live there.
- If a child splits time between two homes, count them where they stay most often. If their time is evenly divided, or you don’t know, count them where they were staying on April 1, 2020.
- If a child moved during March or April 2020, count them at the address where they were living on April 1, 2020.
- Count children that do not have a permanent place to live and were staying with you on April 1, 2020, even if they were only staying temporarily.
- Count newborns at the home where they will live and sleep most of the time, even if they were still in the hospital on April 1, 2020.
Local parents and educators can also learn more about the importance of counting young children in this fact sheet and this FAQ document.