It’s time to start getting ready for Census 2020.

The official Census 2020 day is April 1, 2020, a year away. But schools, elected officials, and community organizations are working hard today to make sure everyone is counted a year from now. An accurate Census count will mean that cities and states get the legal representation and federal funding that matches their population counts.

Early educators should join this effort. Please encourage your contacts and communities to participate in the Census.

As we’ve blogged, Census results affect Head Start and other educational opportunities. There is, however, a risk that the Census may fail to count an estimated one million children, which is what happened during the 2010 Census.

“The Census Bureau acknowledges the long-standing undercount of young children in decennial censuses and in Census Bureau surveys,” the Census explains on its website.

The Annie E. Casey Foundation, which produces the annual KIDS COUNT Data Book, estimates that 2 million children could be missed in the 2020 Census.

Undercounts are also a local problem, according to the Boston Globe, which reports:

“Massachusetts’ sizable populations of immigrants, college students, and renters makes it one of the most difficult states to count on the census every 10 years. Boston, for example, has among the lowest census return rates in the nation.”

To change course and publicize the Census for and wide, the Census Bureau kicked off National Census Day of Action on Monday with a press conference and the release of a video (posted above) that asks:

“Can one girl in a small town, an architect in a major city, and a suburban high school coach shape the future of the United States? Yes, they can. Because every 10 years, the Census gives us that power. You can shape your future by responding to the 2020 Census.”

“It’s important that everyone respond to the Census, and it’s so easy to do,” Census Bureau Director Steven Dillingham said at the press conference.

But as Associate Director for Decennial Census Programs Albert Fortenot points out, “we can’t do it by ourselves.”

That’s where the early education community comes in. Early educators are uniquely suited to reach out to families of young children and encourage them to participate in the Census. And there are lots of tools to use to do this work.

First, let everyone know that responding to the Census is easy. Responses can made online, over the phone, or on a paper questionnaire that gets mailed back to the Census Bureau.

Second, use all the available resources to promote the Census through print and social media.

The Census Bureau has resources posted here and also here at The 2020 Census at a Glance. The Census Bureau has also posted a webinar on how its operations affect children.

The City of Boston has posted its “Boston Counts 2020” webpage here. And Massachusetts Secretary of State Bill Galvin has posted Census information here.

The NALEO Education Fund (NALEO is the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials) has posted a Census information page as well as a media toolkit posted in English here – and in Spanish here. NALEO also has a report about how Latino children have been left out of the Census count.

The Annie E. Casey Foundation has a Count All Kids: Census 2020 page here. And Casey has posted a related video here.

So please share information about the Census early and often with people you know and on social media. Let families know that they count, and that it’s crucial for them to be counted.