The City of Phoenix announced an effort to encourage the inclusion of babies and children on the 2020 Census form with an innovative family education program titled, My First Census.​ Nationally, children 0 – 5 are consistently among the most undercounted group in decennial censuses. In addition, in Phoenix 48 percent of children age five and under live in an undercounted census tract, making the city 6t​ h​ in the nation for children in this circumstance.

“A precise count of our youngest residents is critical to our ability as a city to plan for their futures,” said City of Phoenix Mayor Kate Gallego. “We are working collectively with many community partners to encourage participation on Census Day, April 1, 2020; including memorable initiatives like ​My First Census.​ It is designed for families like mine who will include their children for the first time in the 2020 Census. My son (Michael) has already had many wonderful ‘firsts’ and being included in the 2020 Census will be another one that will make me proud.”

The program is an extension of the ​iCount 2020 campaign that aims to achieve the most accurate count possible on the 2020 Census. The event is centered around free and fun-filled education days where families can commemorate their child’s participation in the upcoming census by taking part in ‘Picture Day’: a ​traveling photo studio directed by a professional photographer. ​The program includes a social media contest for all families whose children will be counted for the first time on the 2020 Census’ nine-question form. Families that share their child’s photo on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter with the hashtag: #MyFirstCensus will be entered for a chance to win a private professional family photo package and the chance for their child to be featured on an ​iCount2020​ billboard in Phoenix.

The inaugural Picture Day is scheduled for Saturday, Oct. 5 at Burton Barr Library, 1221 N Central Ave, Phoenix, AZ 85004, 9:30 to 11:30 a.m. Families should RSVP for the free session with the professional photographer on the ​My First Census Day event page​. Local groups will be on-site with a variety of age-appropriate activities and fun.

“Forgetting children on the census form places funding for education and other programs for them in jeopardy,” said Phoenix Councilman Michael Nowakowski. “This effort is meant to educate families with kids in this age group about the importance of including their children in the 2020 Census. Our partners at Burton Barr will make our first event a memorable experience in a setting that is already familiar and welcoming.”

The chronic undercount of children age 0 to 10 is a statewide problem. In the 2010 Census more than 10 percent of Arizona children in this age group were missed. Subsequently, according to Count All Kids Census 2020, other local cities with a notable percentage of children age five and under who live in undercounted census tracts include: Glendale, 49 percent; Mesa, 31 percent; Chandler, 25 percent; Scottsdale, 13 percent and Tucson, 37 percent.

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