OKLAHOMA CITY – State Sen. Roger Thompson is urging citizens throughout Senate District 8 to step up for their communities, their counties and the entire state by completing the 2020 U.S. Census. Thompson, R-Okemah, said right now Oklahoma is trailing most other states in the region and the country, but there is still time to turn those numbers around.
“The census is simply a population count, but anyone who thinks it doesn’t matter if they respond should think again. It has a direct impact on every man, woman and child in the country,” Thompson said. “Literally hundreds of billions of federal dollars are distributed to communities, counties and states on the basis of population, so when people don’t respond, it means they don’t get counted and we lose out on those much-needed funds.”
Thompson, who chairs the Senate Appropriations Committee, said those federal funds are used in a variety of programs and services, providing resources for local hospitals, mental health services, roads, public schools, nutrition programs, water and sewage systems and much more. After less than 76% of Oklahomans responded to the 2010 census, he and others throughout the state are trying to help raise awareness of how important getting a full count is to Oklahoma’s future.
“Every person not counted in the census costs the state approximately $1,675 per year in lost federal funding for ten years,” Thompson said. “That’s money we cannot afford to leave on the table, particularly as we deal with the quick and dramatic impact COVID-19 has had on our local and state economies.”
As of April 28, the national average response rate for the census was 54.3%, compared to Oklahoma’s overall response rate of 48.8%. The response rate for McIntosh County was 20.5%; in Muskogee County, it was 44%; in Okfuskee County, the response was 28%; and in Okmulgee County, it was 43.5%.
Looking at some of the local communities within the district, Checotah had the highest response rate as of April 28, at 47.9%. Okmulgee had a 45.7% response; Henryetta was 42.3%; Okemah was 40.5%; and in Eufaula, 34%.
“It literally just takes a few minutes to respond, but the financial impact on our hometowns, our counties and the entire state will last for a decade, so please, step up and be counted,” Thompson said.
Thompson said Oklahomans can mail in their completed census, complete it over the phone by calling 1-844-330-2020, or online at 2020census.gov.
For more information, contact Sen. Roger Thompson at 405-521-5588 or email Roger.Thompson@oksenate.gov.