The 2020 Census count has started, and a complete count of all Montanans is critical to ensuring the state receives its fair share of federal funds over the next ten years. Unfortunately, the youngest among us, children under five years old, are at the highest risk of being undercounted. In 2000, an undercount cost Montana nearly $21 million in lost funding for programs our children rely upon. Not achieving an accurate count of Montana’s children in 2020 means that Montana stands to lose $20,000 over the next ten years for each child missed by the census.
The Census count ensures that, as children get older, programs will adjust for the number of children eligible. Just think: a three-year-old Montana child that may be in preschool today, will be in seventh or eighth grade by 2030, with changing needs throughout the entire ten-year period. Some of the programs that rely on census data to distribute funding include:
How can we count all kids in the census?
As Census Day approaches, all Montanans must be aware of how important this moment is to the future of our children and our communities. We cannot support the critical programs that will keep our children healthy, educated, and prepared for adulthood over the next decade without accurate census data.
For more information on the Census, check out the Montana Complete Count website.
MBPC is a nonprofit organization focused on providing credible and timely research and analysis on budget, tax, and economic issues that impact low- and moderate-income Montana families.