By State Rep. Rhonda Baker
Every ten years, U.S. census workers knock on doors, mail millions of forms, converge on public gatherings and do everything possible to make sure each person who lives in the United States is counted. Securing an accurate count is incredibly important for a number of reasons.
The United States Constitution mandates a census of the population be conducted every decade. The statistics gathered are used to determine how much federal funding each state receives for the next decade.
This results in billions of dollars that can be used for health care services for everyone in each state – in rural and urban communities.
Accurate Census counts help secure maintenance dollars for the federal highways that run through each state and much, much more. You can see why it is vital that we make sure each Oklahoman is counted in this year’s Census.
We must ensure we receive an accurate portion of our federal dollars to help us take care of the needs of our state residents.
Census data impacts legislative and congressional districts in our state, which are drawn based on population. It is important this data is accurate so all Oklahomans have equal representation at both the state and federal levels of government.
Counties and cities also use census numbers in the redistricting of voting precincts.
The last census was taken in 2010, and Oklahoma had only a 75.5 percent participation rate – one of the lowest in our region. If nearly 25 percent of our population did not fill out their census, how much important federal funding did Oklahoma miss out on for the past 10 years?
I sincerely hope each resident in House District 60 will take a few minutes to fill out a census form and help shape the next 10 years of our state.
Let’s work together to achieve the largest participation ever in Oklahoma as the 2020 census count is taken!
Rep. Rhonda Baker, R-Yukon, represents District 60 in the Oklahoma House of Representatives.