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Information and inspiration for parents and caregivers of babies, toddlers and preschoolers

Making your family count

Sesame Street's the Count and Elmo for the US Census

This year, the Census Bureau is asking Arizona families to complete their 2020 Census forms online starting March 12. This is the first time that the census documents can be filled out online – even on a mobile device – or by phone or through traditional mail-in form.

As families begin receiving notices about the 2020 Census this month, it’s a good time to remember to include all children – even newborns – in the household count. In the 2010 Census, about 5% of babies, toddlers and preschoolers nationally were missed, the highest of any single age group. Many early childhood organizations that rely on accurate counts of all young children – including First Things First, Arizona’s early childhood agency – are joining efforts to spread the word to Arizona families.

Even Sesame Street is getting into the counting spirit. Of course, Count von Count, Sesame Street’s favorite number counter, is the star of a new video explaining that the census is his favorite time of the decade. “Aha, ha, ha.”

“Counting everyone in your home helps support your neighborhood for the next 10 years, funding things like schools, hospitals and buses. So count yourself and everyone in your home,” the Count tells his furry friends living on Sesame Street.

Counting children is important because these numbers help determine how billions of dollars get spent each year on things like hospitals, schools and other neighborhood services. Kids left off the census form can miss out on a whole childhood of community support.

The Count’s advice that the census is easy, secure and, most importantly, completely private is what families need to know. In just 10 minutes, adults can complete the census by calling or going online.

Young children who are missed in the census tend to live with large, extended families or with multiple families living under one roof. Here are some simple steps to make sure children are counted in the right place:

  • Count children in the home where they live and sleep most of the time, even if their parents don’t live there.
  • If a child’s time is divided between more than one home, count them where they stay most often. If their time is evenly divided, or you don’t know where they stay most often, count them where they are staying on Census Day – April 1, 2020.
  • If a child’s family or guardian is moving during March or April 2020, count them at the address where they are living on April 1, 2020.
  • Count children in your home if they don’t have a permanent place to live and are staying in your home on April 1, 2020, even if they are only staying with you temporarily.
  • Count newborn babies at the home where they will live and sleep most of the time, even if they are still in the hospital on April 1, 2020.

Families are asked to complete their census by April 1. For more information about Arizona’s efforts to ensure a complete count, visit

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