Families and Households - We Count Oregon

Families and Households

Oregon’s families and shared households are the roots of our communities. Our families connect us to each other. But children under 5 are commonly missed in the Census count. The undercount of young children is a growing issue that costs our children for a decade. 

The 2010 census missed an estimated 2 million children. Children from birth to 5 are one of the most undercounted groups in the Census. We project that about 6% of Oregon residents are children under 5 and that means we need to count everyone.

Parents who share custody of a child are often confused about who counts the child as part of their household.

In that case, the parent that has the child, most of the time counts them. If there is 50/50 custody than the parent the child is with on April 1, 2020, is where the child is counted.

About 1 in 11 Oregon children from birth to age 4 live with their grandparents. Grandparents play a critical role in making sure their grandchildren are counted. If the child is living with a grandparent on April 1, 2020, the grandparent’s home is where the child is counted. 

Newborn babies, even if they are still in the hospital should be counted as part of your family on your Census form.

Since the decennial census is conducted every 10 years, if a child is not counted, that’s 10 years of program funding Oregon doesn’t receive, which is a long portion of their childhood.  

Federally funded programs children under 5 benefit from include:

  • Health Care Centers
  • Temporary Assistance for Needy Families
  • WIC
  • SNAP food assistance
  • School Breakfast Program
  • National School Lunch Program
  • Library Services
  • Head Start
  • Special Education Grants
  • Grants for Cultural Relevant Education
  • Foster Care
  • Adoption Assistance

Children under 5 are not the only members of households at risk for being undercounted in the 2020 Census. Other living situations can create confusion when trying to accurately take the Census. 

When multiple adults live in one household, the U.S. Census Bureau asks respondents to identify the relationship of additional household residents. The possible relationships include spouse/partner, children, brother/sister, father/mother, grandchild, parent-in-law, son/daughter-in-law, other relatives, roommate/housemate, foster child, and other non-relatives.

If someone is staying in your home on April 1 and has no other residence, you should count them in your response to the 2020 Census. Temporary roommates are easy to miss because the person filling out the census form may not consider them a member of their household. But if they are not counted at another location they should be counted where they are staying, even if it is a temporary arrangement.

College students should be counted where they live and sleep most of the time. Even foreign and out-of-state students should be counted in Oregon if they are residing here while attending college.

For support filling out the census or for other questions contact: https://www.uniteoregon.org/ or https://www.cataction.org/

Download the We Count Oregon coloring book!

Download our toolkit!

Download our Families and Households Toolkit for additional resources for talking about and sharing information about taking the Census.

Questions? Contact us.