How Much Money Did Your State Lose From The Young Child Undercount In The 2010 Census?

Deborah Stein

Many people want to understand how important the undercount of young children could be in their state. To help give a partial sense of how much money a state can lose, we have calculated the amount of money that 36 states lost each year since the Decennial Census from just five programs because they missed so many young children: Medicaid, CHIP, foster care, adoption assistance, and a portion of the child care block grant.  You can find how much your state is losing each year here.

The total is pretty overwhelming; collectively 36 states lose at least $550 million a year just from these five programs.

How did we calculate it? We took the number of children ages 0 to 4 missed in the 2010 Census, available here, and multiplied it by the amount of money that the Counting For Dollars project calculates is lost for these five programs for each person missed in that state—available here.

What about the 14 states that we didn’t include? Well, 13 of them already get the lowest possible Federal reimbursement for these programs, and therefore won’t lose additional funding for these programs with an undercount. One (Idaho) actually had a net overcount of young children.

Of course, these are only five programs. Several hundred federal programs allocate federal funds based on Census data. So all 50 states will lose money if they miss many young children in the 2020 census; it’s just a lot easier to calculate the loss from these particular programs.


Deborah Stein is the Network Director of the Partnership for America’s Children.