Calling on Congress to Extend 2020 Census Reporting Deadlines

The Partnership for America’s Children is calling on Congress to include imperative language in the next COVID relief package that would extend the statutory reporting deadlines for the 2020 Census by four months and prohibit the Bureau and the President from sending the relevant data to the Congress in advance of those deadlines.

The Bureau had to delay many census operations because of the pandemic. The extension is essential to make sure that the Census Bureau can count everyone, especially young children who are at particularly high risk of being missed. The 2010 Census missed 2 million children under age 5--by far the largest number of people missed in any age group. When young children are missed in the census, it reduces the federal resources for their schools, their child care, their health care, and many other programs essential for their well-being. Missing a young child means reducing the resources they need to thrive for a decade--most of their childhood.

Only weeks ago, senior expert career Census Bureau staff said unequivocally that they could not responsibly finish their by the statutorily required December 31, 2020 deadline. Accordingly, the Secretary of Commerce wisely requested that Congress extend the reporting deadlines for apportionment and redistricting data. Now the administration is suggesting that this painstaking work can be done by the legally required deadlines.

The Bureau must be given enough time to complete its work fairly and accurately. If the Bureau does not have enough time to reach people through its door to door enumerations process, children in every community will be harmed for the next 10 years. Over a third of the nation’s households have not yet responded, and every community has areas where the response rate lags significantly. Young children are especially at risk of being missed. A recent analysis from the Population Reference Bureau shows that the average self-response rate in census tracts with a very high risk of undercounting young children was fifty-five percent. This number is far below the self-response rate in census tracts with a low risk of undercounting young children, which was sixty-nine percent. Rushing the census will exacerbate these disparities in the final count instead of allowing time to close the gap.

An accurate complete Census is vital for our children and our democracy. Census data determines the distribution of $1.5 trillion in federal funding every year, and communities use it for planning and good government. Education funding is particularly vulnerable to a flawed census because federal funds for Title 1 and special educate are allocated to local education authorities—relatively small demographic groups—which will suffer from even minor fluctuations in the count.


Our children’s future, and therefore our constitutionally mandated census, is not negotiable.


The Partnership for America’s Children is appalled by the President’s July 21st unconstitutional memorandum mandating the exclusion of undocumented individuals from the decennial census apportionment data. This will hurt children—citizen children, documented children, and undocumented children—because it will discourage family members from responding to the Census.
When families respond to the Census and count everyone in their households, it means more federal money for their states and communities for schools, for health care, for child care, and for many other programs that help children thrive. It means local governments have better information to plan for things like the number of children in schools or how many families need health care. And it means their community gets fully represented in Congress, in state legislatures, in county councils, and on school boards.
Over six million children live in households with at least one undocumented immigrant adult who may be deterred by this memorandum from completing the Census. The Partnership encourages everyone living in the United States to fill out the decennial census to ensure their community has the information it needs to plan for the future and to make sure the community receives all the federal funds that it is entitled to receive.
The decennial census does not ask for citizenship status or the legal status of an immigrant and the information it collects is covered by strict confidentiality laws; anyone releasing that information can go to prison for up to five years or pay a fine of up to $250,000. The President’s memorandum leaves the confidentiality law unchanged. Personal information still must remain confidential, and the decennial census questions still do not ask about citizenship or immigration status.
Rather, the President is ordering the Census Bureau to use other data sources to edit the decennial census files that will be used for apportioning congressional representation by removing individuals that appear to be undocumented. While this is clearly unconstitutional since the Constitution requires Congressional apportionment to be based on an actual enumeration, and while it violates the federal law that sets forth how apportionment data should be collected and tabulated, it is important for everyone to understand that the memorandum does not require or allow the release of individual information.


Standing in Solidarity; Working for Our Children

As a network of advocates for children, we stand in solidarity with children, youth, families, and community members across the country to denounce the violent forces of racism and state-sanctioned violence that murdered George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and Ahmaud Arbery, along with hundreds of other Black fathers, mothers, sons, and daughters. We believe Black Lives Matter.
Our community is struggling today to find ways to respond to three crises at once: a global pandemic, a flailing economy, and police brutality. All of these crises disproportionately leave a damaging and lasting impact on Black children and their families and communities. The anger inflaming our nation today is the consequence of centuries of oppression against Black communities that stifle opportunities for upward mobility for many Black children, and label Black human lives as disposable.
As leaders of organizations, we stand firm to our collective commitment to racial and ethnic equity. We support our Black leaders and leaders of color. We are here to listen, to support, and unapologetically fight for justice.
Our hearts weigh heavy with the pain felt across the nation today, but the power of our communities gives us hope. We are honored to join you to demand a better way forward to ensure we have policies, systems and supports so all children have what they need to grow up healthy and succeed.
Deborah Stein, Network Director
John Brandon, Board Co-Chair
Tasha Green Cruzat, Board Co-Chair and Racial and Ethnic Equity Committee Co-Chair
Mayra Alvarez, Racial and Ethnic Equity Committee Co-Chair
Many members of the Partnership for America's Children have also issued statements of their own. Please find them linked below:


The 2019 Florette Angel Memorial Child Advocacy Award was presented to Paola Maranan. The full award announcement highlights Paola's dynamic leadership as Executive Director of Children's Alliance, mentor to many, and advocate for mitigating barriers of racim and poverty for children.  

Paola Maranan, winner of the 2019 Florette Angel award, with Partnership Board Co-Chairs  John Brandon and Tasha Green Cruzat

Paola Maranan, winner of the 2019 Florette Angel Award, with nominator Lauren Necochea of Voices for Idaho Children, and nomination  supporters Ken Taylor of Kids Forward (Wisconsin) and Annie McKay, Kansas Action for Children.


We are featured in Mediaplanet’s Community Development campaign covering topics ranging from affordable housing in the U.S. to highlighting the organizations making a difference in underserved communities throughout America.

The editorial "Want healthy kids? Cover their parents" by Deborah Stein, Network Director, and members Michelle Hughes (NC Child) and Denise Tanata (Children's Advocacy Alliance) is available here.

The campaign was distributed through USA TODAY on Sept. 26th, 2018 and is published online. For the full campaign, visit: