Dozens of wide-eyed children had a face-to-face meeting with Nickelodeon’s Dora the Explorer Tuesday morning as the U.S. Census Bureau launched its new campaign to help ensure children of all ages are counted in the 2010 Census.
The full Census occurs only once every 10 years, therefore a child born today will be in the fourth grade during the next national Census. Missing them this year means the child would spend their first decade of life with reduced health, education and community services because the federal government is unaware of the need.
“A complete and accurate count of our nation’s youngest is critical to their health and education, and the future strength of our communities and labor force,” said Robert M. Groves, director of the U.S. Census Bureau.
The federal government uses Census data to determine how to best distribute more than $400 billion in annual funds, including $26 billion earmarked for educational services and other programs to benefit children. Undercounting will mean some communities won’t get the funds that they need.
Undercounting kids isn’t new. Historically, the Census has missed young children at a significantly higher rate than other demographics, said Dr. William O’Hare, senior consultant and former director of the Kids Count program for the Annie E. Casey Foundation. The 2000 Census missed approximately 750,000 children under the age of five, or about four percent of the total demographic.
Today’s event took place at Mary’s Center for Maternal and Child Care in Washington, D.C. Founded in 1988, Mary’s Center provides health care and other services to low-income immigrant families. Children of all ages were able to watch the new 2010 Census PSA featuring Dora and shrieked and clapped their hands as a life-sized Dora joined them on stage as a special treat.
Click here to watch the Dora the Explorer 2010 Census PSA (in English and Spanish).
Maria Gomez, president of Mary’s Center, said the children’s reaction to the PSA shows it will be an effective tool in the campaign to make sure every young child is counted. She believes it will start a “ripple effect,” where everyone who encounters the campaign will share the information throughout their communities. The end result will be a healthier community for children.
Click here to visit the 2010 Census website to learn more about the campaign, download facts sheets and more.
*Thanks to Global Influence for providing us with this information