Author William O’Hare, a social and health psychology researcher who used to work for the Census Bureau, compared birth, death and immigration records in each county to the county level results of the 2010 census.
He and the study's other authors found that the Census Bureau should have identified more than 21 million Americans 4 or younger in 2010, but only counted about 20 million. Of those missing million people, about 40% were Latino, he said.
About three-fourths of the uncounted children live in California, Texas, Florida, Arizona or New York, according to the study.
O’Hare said the undercount is likely caused by the high number of Latino families living in rentals, in high poverty areas or in complex living arrangements where a child might not live with a legal guardian — all situations that traditionally make it harder for the census to count people.
But he said the Census Bureau needs to do more research to understand why the children aren’t being counted. He said some adults may not understand that children should be included in the census answers or are afraid to respond over fears of how it might affect their own legal status, even if the child is a legal resident.The report admits that solutions to the problem are not easy to sort out, but this almost certainly will be factored into planning for the 2020 Census. In the meantime, we can celebrate the fact that we have more kids than we thought. Now we have to make sure they get a good education.