Targeting Areas to Improve the Count of Young Children in the 2020 Census: A New PRB Resource

Mark Mather (PRB)

At least 4 million U.S. children under age 5 live in neighborhoods with a very high risk of undercounting young children in the 2020 Census, according to a recent analysis by Population Reference Bureau (PRB). Now that the 2020 Census is underway, we can assess response rates in these high-risk areas and pinpoint communities that are falling behind.

PRB is developing a series of summary tables, databases, and maps to help advocates identify new areas to target for census outreach and child-focused messaging to improve the count in 2020.

The tables, database, and maps will be updated on a weekly basis (twice monthly starting in July) with new 2020 Census self-response rates from the U.S. Census Bureau.

Materials include:

  • National-level tables: Average 2020 Census self-response rates and average weekly change in response rates across tracts, by tract-level risk of undercounting young children.
  • County-level tables: Data for 689 large counties, ranked by number/share of children living in very-high-risk tracts, along with 2020 Census self-response rates and weekly change in response rates.
  • Tract-level database: Data on the risk of undercounting young children, latest 2020 Census self-response rates, weekly change in response rates, key predictors of child undercount, and racial/ethnic composition of child population.
  • Interactive maps highlighting tracts with a very high risk of undercounting young children and low 2020 Census self-response rates.
  • One-page summary report that includes key metrics from the national and county tables.

You can access the tables and maps here. To view the maps, download the google document and open the downloaded html. 

About these estimates:

The estimated risk of undercount for young children is based on PRB’s analysis of ACS estimates and the U.S. Census Bureau’s Revised 2018 Experimental Demographic Analysis Estimates for young children. Data are based on 2020 Census tract boundaries.

For a detailed description of the methods and data sources used to predict child undercount risk, please refer to William P. O’Hare, Linda A. Jacobsen, Mark Mather, & Alicia VanOrman, Predicting Tract-level Net Undercount Risk for Young Children report available on PRB’s website.


This research was funded by The Annie E. Casey Foundation, Inc., and we thank them for their support; however, the findings and conclusions presented in this report are those of the authors alone, and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the Foundation.


If you have any questions, please contact Mark Mather at PRB (