U.S. Supreme Court Action on Citizenship Question is a Victory for Young Children

First 5 Association Executive Director Moira Kenney released the following statement in response to the Supreme Court’s decision today not to allow a citizenship question in the 2020 Census, and to send it back to a district court for consideration.

“We hope the New York District Court will follow the lead of the U.S. Supreme Court and keep this question out of the U.S. Census. A citizenship question would make an accurate count much more difficult, and we know what’s at stake with an undercount: the health and well-being of vulnerable young children.

Critical programs for children depend on an accurate Census count—programs that provide food, shelter, housing and education. An undercount in 2020 could cost California more than $3 billion in federally funded programs like Medicaid, Head Start, Section 8 (housing) and the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (food stamps).

Half of California’s children have at least one immigrant parent, and a quarter of its population is foreign born. Changes in immigration policies over the last two years have created a climate of fear and distrust in this community. A citizenship question would exacerbate these fears, further hindering efforts to get an accurate count.

The Census consistently undercounts children younger than age 5, especially children of color. In the last census (2010), approximately one million California children under age five weren’t counted, costing the state billions in federal funding it was legally entitled to.

First 5 is working hard, and will continue to do so, to ensure all children and families receive the representation they deserve. Every child counts, and should be counted.”


About First 5 Association
First 5 Association of California is the voice of the 58 First 5 county commissions, which were created by voters in 1998 to ensure our kids are healthy, safe, and ready to learn. 
Together, First 5 touches the lives of more than one million kids, families, and caregivers each year, and strengthens our state by giving kids the best start in life. Learn more at www.first5association.org.