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For Immediate Release
November 29, 2017
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COLUMBUS – Clear and accurate Census data is the life blood for a strong Ohio. But a series of vital policy decisions this year could place Ohio’s communities at risk of an inaccurate census count, limiting their political power and federal funding for the next decade. Children’s Defense Fund-Ohio (CDF-Ohio) has released a new series of infographics, The Census Matters for Ohio Communities, detailing the impact of the census on Ohio’s communities and the dangers associated with an inaccurate census count.
Today, $21 billion in federal funding is distributed in Ohio based on the Census and nearly $600 billion throughout the country. Medicaid, the State Children’s Health Insurance Program (S-CHIP), Head Start and Early Head Start, and our nation’s foster care programs are among the top 16 largest federal programs whose funding depend on census data.
This spring, Congress allocated a budget for the Census Bureau that falls far below what experts believe the bureau needs to conduct an accurate census. As a result, the Census Bureau has already suffered delays, cancellations, and cutbacks in vital planning activities and field tests for new counting methods.
“Shortchanging the Census Bureau is placing all of Ohio’s communities at risk of an inaccurate count. It could cost communities vital federal funding for healthcare, nutrition, education, and a host of other items,” says Ashon McKenzie, Children’s Defense Fund-Ohio Policy Director. “Young children, people of color, immigrants, and families in rural and Appalachian communities are all at risk of being missed at disproportionately high rates.”
CDF-Ohio’s Infographics explain the risk of undercounting children. The 2010 Census missed 4.6 percent of the nation’s young children—nearly 2.2 million young children, age five and younger. Over 100,000 (roughly 15 percent) of Ohio’s young children live in areas that the Census Bureau considers “hard-to-count.” 73 percent of young children in Cleveland are at risk of being missed, 52 percent of young children in Columbus, 46 percent in Cincinnati, and 38 percent in Toledo.
As a counter-measure, CDF-Ohio encourages local governments to sign up for the Local Update of Census Addresses (LUCA) Operation with the Census Bureau, a program that allows local government to make updates to the Census Bureau’s Master List of addresses. They have until December 15, 2017 to sign up.
“Accurate data and full funding is critical for Ohio’s children. For example, the Census impacts funding for Medicaid. 40 percent of all children in Ohio are covered by Medicaid. Half of the births in the state are covered under Medicaid. The Census is the basis of funding for Head Start, foster care, SNAP, WIC and a host of other major programs,” says McKenzie. “We have to act now.”
The Children’s Defense Fund Leave No Child Behind® mission is to ensure every child a Healthy Start, a Head Start, a Fair Start, a Safe Start and a Moral Start in life and successful passage to adulthood with the help of caring families and communities.
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