This Friday, we joined Ethnic Media Services at the offices of the World Affairs Council to speak on how the youth and children will be affected by Census 2020. CAA Advocacy Director, Hong Mei Pang joined representatives from Children’s Partnership, San Francisco Office of Civic Engagement (OCEIA), San Francisco Unified School District (SFUSD), Alive and Free, and the Census Bureau to highlight their respective perspectives on the issue.
San Francisco youth have been undercounted, especially children ages 0-5, in every last census which has led to substantial underfunding for youth services throughout the city. Services such as Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, Children Health Insurance, Head Start and School Lunch could all be at risk of being under-resourced. Broadly, California could lose upwards of 3 billion dollars over the next decade if youth are undercounted.
“Achieving a complete and accurate of children and youth can lead to a multiplier effect. More accurate projections for the potential needs for education, childcare, health, and other services will allow for better public investments and policies to address these needs,” Hong Mei Pang pointed out.
Undercounts for youth happen due to a wide variety of reasons. Children often belong to complex living situations where they split time between two households. They may belong to low-income families and fall through the gap of the digital divide or their parent and guardian may easily forget or not be aware of the census. Sometimes parents forget or are unsure if newborns count toward the census.
While there are many other barriers to a complete count, CAA is actively working to address these gaps through community outreach and education. We are connecting with trusted messengers such as community-based service providers and ethnic media partners to patch knowledge gaps and foster civic power in families whose children will stand to benefit the most in a full and complete count for the next 10 years.
In addition, Ethnic Media Services has launched a creative writing contest calling on teenagers and young adults to convey why the census matters to them. The deadline for entries is set for December 1st. If interested, you can find out more information here.