The Annie E. Casey Foundation’s annual KIDS COUNT data book was released last week, and ranked Delaware’s kids 29th in economic well-being, 27th in education and 21st in health compared to other states.
Janice Barlow, director of KIDS COUNT in Delaware, says being “middle of the pack” is typical for Delaware.
But, she points out, what’s changing in Delaware is demographics. She says the state’s Hispanic population is growing—and the ones leading this shift are young children, who don’t all tend to show up in federal census data.
“The most likely group to be undercounted is kids from birth to age five,” she said.
According to the KIDS COUNT 2018 data book, 17 percent of Delaware kids live in “hard-to-count” census areas—and are at risk of being undercounted in the 2020 US census.
Barlow says census data affects where businesses choose to locate, where state governments put services like public libraries, and how federal funding is distributed.
“Annually for the last 10 years based on the 2010 data, more than $500 million have flowed to Delaware just for the 10 largest federal programs that serve children,” she said.
Barlow says these programs include Medicaid, Head Start, and the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program.
Barlow says KIDS COUNT in Delaware hopes to mobilize community partners—like public libraries and childcare facilities—to help educate parents about filling out the 2020 census, so kids in the First State are represented as accurately as possible.
And Delaware lawmakers seem to be on the same page.
The General Assembly passed a resolution over the weekend calling on the Governor to create a “Complete Count Commission” - including community leaders and representatives of historically undercounted populations - to help get Delaware counted accurately in the upcoming 2020 census.