CHARLESTON, WV (WOWK) – The deadline for the 2020 Census is quickly approaching. It’s important to get it filled out to help ensure the well-being of kids around the state.
During each U.S. Census count, West Virginians may be under-counted – especially in rural areas.
West Virginia kids count released an annual data book earlier this week detailing where kids are struggling. The group wants to make sure all kids get the help they need, but an undercount in the census will result in less funding.
“Our number one source is census data. So, census data provides us a look inside the population inside West Virginia, Tricia Kingery, West Virginia Kids Count Executive Director.
Areas affected by the census include less money for education, limited access to healthcare for children and fewer vital supports for working parents.
“Billions of dollars are allocated from the federal government based on census numbers,” Kingery said. “We look at where people live, how old they are and their income as a base line.”
For the first time, the census bureau is changing the way it counts using digital filings and responses instead of physical paperwork. This can be a problem in already hard-to-count areas because of broadband issues and an elderly population.
“We do know that in 2010 when the last census was conducted, 5% of West Virginia kids were not counted, and we are challenged because we’re rural,” Kingery said.
The census asks 10 questions and only takes a few minutes to fill out, but those few minutes impact the well-being of a child in the state.
“Make sure West Virginia gets the federal dollars it needs to help our economy, our children and to help each other,” Kingery said.
Right now, the state has a 99.9% response rate. People have until Oct. 31 to fill out the census.