Last week, at the Fall meeting of the Census Scientific Advisory Committee (CSAC), the Census Bureau announced the creation of a cross-directorate team focused on improving the count of young children. This new team will continue the Census Bureau’s focus on the count of young children beyond the Decennial Census and expand its work to all its demographic programs, encompassing the population estimates program, the American Community Survey, and other demographic surveys. The cross-directorate team will include internal experts from all those areas.
As soon as 2020 Census data specific to young children is released next year, the cross-directorate team will examine those data compared to benchmarks. The team will research ways to improve data on young children and, while it is still early, it is expected that one focus will be improvements to data collection, the population estimates program, and/or modeling efforts. Planning for the 2030 Census and other Census Bureau products that include data for young children will be another focus.
This is a huge win for the child advocacy community. The Partnership for America’s Children and other members of the Count All Kids community have asked the Census Bureau to create a team focused on the count of young children for quite a while. Early in the 2020 Decennial Census cycle, there appeared to be very little coordination about the count of young children among the various Census Bureau groups working on the Decennial Census. When the Bureau created a Task Force on the Undercount of Young Children, there were significant improvements in the operational plan, the communications plan, research design, and the overall attention to young children.