Census Bureau director Robert Groves meets with Dora the Explorer and families during the launch of "Children Count Too," a program to remind parents to include their young children on the 2010 census form.

U.S. Census Bureau

What About Children? Are They Counted?

While considerable attention has been devoted to the undercount for the U.S. population overall and to specific subgroups such as young, black men in inner cities, less attention has been given to the undercount of children.

In an attempt to fix that problem, the Census Bureau provided hundreds of thousands of Census in Schools kits to every public and private school in America from kindergarten through 12th grade. The kits, which teachers and administrators received in August 2009, provided age-appropriate lesson plans and class materials to teach young people the importance of the census, how maps work, how statistics work, and how the government and private industry use the census figures to improve quality of life for kids, families and communities.

The Census in Schools program provides students with a take-home letter explaining to parents the importance of an accurate census. The letter is available in English, Spanish, Chinese, Vietnamese, Tagalog and Korean. Additional take-home materials provide recreational census activities for students to complete with their parents. The bureau also launched an interactive Web site with census-related games and coloring pages for kids. The Census in Schools program was one of many initiatives to increase census participation and provide the most accurate count possible. As a result, the bureau estimates that it overcounted the entire population by a statistically slim 0.01 percent, down from a 0.49 percent overcount in 2000 [source: El Nasser and Overberg].