- The US Census Bureau has been teaming up with popular children brands to teach kids about this year’s tally.
- One of the Census Bureau’s recent videos included characters from “VeggieTales,” a popular cartoon that features biblical lessons and stories.
- The agency has partnered with various faith groups in the past to teach people about the importance of the census.
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The Census Bureau has partnered with the Christian cartoon franchise “VeggieTales” to teach kids about this year’s census, the latest in its ongoing drive to get people to fill out the tally.
The government agency shared a brief video called “VeggieTales: Everyone Counts!” in May on its YouTube page and video archive on its website. It was promoted last month in a Statistics in Schools email, a resource for teachers and parents to educate children about the numbers the agency collects.
The clip features Larry the Cucumber, Bob the Tomato, Madame Blueberry, and Junior Asparagus, among other characters from the show. Bob teaches Larry about the census and how to fill it out. It ends with a song that encourages all family members to complete the census and be counted.
The show, which is currently owned by NBCUniversal and created by Christian animation media company Big Idea Entertainment, typically highlights biblical lessons and morals. It also has episodes focused on biblical stories and characters, such as Moses and the burning bush. The Census Bureau is part of the US Department of Commerce.
Kevin Quinley, director of strategic initiatives at the US Census Bureau, told Business Insider in an email that multiple partners suggested the government organisation work with “VeggieTales” because it can be a “kid-friendly and fun way to reach faith-based audiences.”
“The idea of generating family-friendly content that could teach parents and their children about the 2020 Census came up during discussions with faith artists at our Creatives for the Count event hosted in June 2019,” Quinley said. The promotional video with “VeggieTales” doesn’t include any mention of religion or faith.
Although this is the first time the Census Bureau has partnered with “VeggieTales,” the agency’s work within faith-based communities is not new. Religious groups and houses of worship can encourage people to fill out the form, particularly in hard-to-count populations, Quinley said.
“Preachers, priests, rabbis, and imams are trusted voices in their communities, and many are joining the Census Bureau to spread the word that responding to the 2020 Census is easy, safe, and important for their communities,” Quinley said.
The Census has also partnered with other popular children’s brands to help avoid an undercount of minors. For instance, “Sesame Street” has been a long-time partner of the Census, according to an agency press release. The brand began showing bilingual videos in March about the importance of the 2020 Census featuring hit characters such as Elmo, Rosita, and the Count.
“When you have Larry the Cucumber or Bob the Tomato talking about the 2020 Census, I think it really gets kids’ attention,” Robin Bachman, the chief of the National Partnership Program at the US Census Bureau, told Business Insider. “When they’re excited and they’re interested and curious, they also talk to their parents about it. The children are so often the ones who will speak up and say, ‘Mum and dad, or grandma, have I been counted?'”
According to the Census Bureau, about 1 million children under the age of 5 were not counted in the last decennial census, the highest undercount of any age cohort. It is important to get an accurate number because federal funding will be used for programs that pertain to children like schools, child care, and food programs, according to a press release from the Census Bureau.