By Anne Marie Amacher
The Catholic Messenger
DAVENPORT — All Saints Catholic School students introduced the Quad-City region to the new 2020 “Everyone Counts!” Census song on Feb. 18.
Shelby Newberry, a partnership specialist with the Department of Commerce’s U.S. Census Bureau, said only one other school in Iowa debuted the song – the day before in Des Moines. She said the song is important because it helps children spread the word about the upcoming U.S. Census. “It is important to count everyone, especially children,” Newberry said. The once in a decade nationwide count missed an estimated 1 million children in 2010, she said.
The catchy tune and fun lyrics help children understand the Census and why everyone counts in his or her own special way, the U.S. Census website states.
All Saints teacher Kathy Veith taught the students to sing the verses and to perform hand gestures to the song. Davenport Alderman Ray Ambrose congratulated the students on their singing and encouraged them to tell their families to fill out the census. “The future of this great city depends on everyone. It only takes about 5 minutes to fill it out. If your family has any questions, they can call us at city hall and we will help.”
Most addresses will receive a postcard in mid-March with instructions to participate in the 2020 Census in one of three ways — online, by phone or by mail. Every household that has not responded will receive reminder mailings and eventually a paper questionnaire. Then in late April through summer 2020, Census Bureau employees will make in-person visits to addresses without a response.
Newberry visited with students in classrooms earlier in the day of the students’ performance to talk about the Census. Students also received booklets titled “Everyone Counts!” to take home. The booklets, available in English and Spanish, cater to the kindergarten through second-graders who sang the song and contain activities and information about the Census. Children will share the book with their families to help encourage everyone to fill out the questions in the Census.
Booklet activities include counting the number of people on a page; finding items on a page, such as a clock; tracing hands; and encouraging a count of family members, including cousins, grandparents and others who might live in the same household.
Second-grader Victor Romero enjoyed doing the motions with the song. Classmate Brookelynn Brooks liked the song. She said she knows the Census is important because it helps get money to the city. Data collected in the Census helps determine federal funding for programs like Medicare and Medicaid, Head Start, free and reduced school lunches, and road construction, as well as representation in state and federal legislatures.
For more information on the 2020 U.S. Census, visit 2020census.gov.