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Almost 10% of Florida's youngest children were missed during the 2020 census

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Children age 4 and under in Florida were undercounted by almost 10% during the 2020 census, according to estimates released Thursday by the U.S. Census Bureau. The bureau said the estimated error was the largest undercount of young children by any U.S. state.

More than 112,000 children age 4 or younger were overlooked in Florida during the 2020 tally which helps determine federal funding and political power every 10 years, according to Demographic Analysis estimates using administrative records to estimate the population's size.

The Demographic Analysis is one of the tools the Census Bureau uses to calculate how good a job it did of counting every U.S. resident during a census that determines how many congressional seats each state gets.

Vermont had the smallest undercount of young children during the 2020 census, with a negligible rate of 0.02%, the equivalent of six children.

Preschool-age children are the most difficult age group to count and are regularly missed during the nation's head count, an oversight that can shortchange communities of federal funding for programs like Head Start. During the 2020 census, an estimated 1 million children age 4 and under nationwide were overlooked, an undercount of almost 5.5%.

Parents often don't know they should include their babies on the census forms, and, at other times, young children are missed in multigenerational households or if they live in two households because of joint custody.

"We know these undercounts are often correlated with undercounts of certain race and ethnicity groups along with other factors that we were not able to measure directly," Census Bureau Director Robert Santos said in a statement. "We are diligently working to address this issue."

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