Children age 5 and younger are among the most undercounted demographic in the census, according to Leila Gamiz, census coordinator for the City of Phoenix. And that translates to millions in lost dollars for important programs.
In Phoenix, 48 percent of children ages 5 and younger live in an undercounted census tract. That statistic is at the heart of a new public awareness campaign — My First Census or Mi Primer Censo — designed to educate families about the importance of including the city’s youngest residents in the 2020 Census.
Outreach efforts include:
- A photo-sharing contest, which will award one lucky family with a professional private family photo session and the opportunity to see their child featured on an iCount2020 billboard in Phoenix. Participation in the contest is simple: Post no more than one photo a day of your child to Facebook, Instagram, and/or Twitter, with the hashtag #MyFirstCensus or #MiPrimerCenso
- Attend one of the related “My First Census Photo Days,” where children participate in a free photo session taken by a professional photographer. The campaign website features fun-filled pictures from two prior events. Details about a third event scheduled for March 28 are pending.
Kimberly Olivas, a Phoenix resident and mother of two, is supporting the effort as a My First Census campaign ambassador.
“I will include my young children in our census form for the first time this year, and I want to encourage others to do the same,” Olivas said in a statement. “Programs like Head Start have changed our lives for the better, and these are the kinds of services influenced by census data.”
Olivas, who is pursuing a degree in nursing, also serves on the City of Phoenix Policy Council and the Parent Committee for Head Start.
The nationwide census takes place every 10 years and is an important factor in the distribution of public funding. For many of today’s young children, 2020 will be the first time they can be counted.
For contest details and more information visit www.icount2020.info/MyFirstCensus.