Oklahoma State Senate Leaders announce bipartisan effort to encourage Census participation
Published: December 19th, 2019
OKLAHOMA CITY – Both Republicans and Democrats in the Oklahoma Senate are joining the effort to get a full count in Oklahoma in the 2020 Census.
Senate President Pro Tempore Greg Treat, R-Oklahoma City, and Senate Minority Leader Kay Floyd, D-Oklahoma City, announced on Wednesday (December 18) that the Senate is forming a 2020 Complete Count Committee.
The U.S. Census Bureau encourages state and local governments, as well as community, business and faith leaders to form Complete Count committees to promote, through a variety of activities, the importance of a full and complete count in the census. Census data drives the distribution of billions of dollars in federal funds every year for infrastructure, including transportation, as well as education programs, health care and more.
“It is incredibly important that each Oklahoman be counted in the 2020 Census. Increasing our participation rate in the census will provide a more accurate count and has the potential to increase the federal dollars for transportation, education, health care, and other important programs in Oklahoma. The Oklahoma Senate and its members will work to encourage higher participation in the 2020 Census through the Complete Count Committee,” Treat said.
In 2010, Oklahoma’s census participation rate was just 75.5 percent. In Texas, the participation rate was 76.5 percent; in Arkansas, the participation rate was 77 percent; while in Kansas, the participation rate was 81.2 percent.
“A complete census count of all Oklahomans is critical for the future of our state,” Sen. Floyd said. “When Oklahoma taxpayers send their hard-earned dollars to Washington, they expect to receive a fair share of funding from federal programs in return, but that is not possible without an accurate census count in Oklahoma. This is why members of the Oklahoma Senate are working together on a bipartisan effort to encourage our constituents to participate in the 2020 Census.”
In Fiscal Year 2016, Oklahoma received more than $9.3 billion through 55 federal programs guided by 2010 census data. It is estimated that every person not counted in the census costs the state approximately $1,800 per year in lost federal funding for 10 years. An undercount of just 2 percent could cost the state up to $1.8 billion over a decade.
Census Day will be April 1, 2020, but Oklahoma residents can self-respond to the 2020 Census beginning in early March 2020, via the Internet, by phone, by traditional paper census questionnaire, or in-person with a U.S Census Bureau employee. The U.S. Constitution mandates a full count of the population in Article 1, Section 2. Decennial census counts are used when determining how to allocate federal funds.