The U.S. Census is about more – much more – than counting heads.
To be precise, each person counted is good for federal funds totaling $1,675 per year – $16,750 over the next 10 years – for their community.
McClain County is widely regarded as one of the fastest growing counties in Oklahoma.
But officials need the actual census count to reap those financial benefits.
The 2020 Census figures will determine how many seats Oklahoma and other states will have in the House of Representatives.
It’s a number that will be used to redraw Congressional and state legislative districts in the years ahead.
Census numbers are also used to determine how federal funding is allocated to upwards of 100 programs ranging from school lunches and education to highway construction.
The numbers will enable legislators and business owners to make critical decisions over the coming 10 years.
Decisions like where communities need new schools, clinics, roads and other services for families, seniors and children.
With literally hundreds of billions of dollars at stake, the importance and impact of an accurate census can’t be ignored.
As of Tuesday, the self-response rate for Purcell was 57.9 percent. Goldsby had the area’s high at 70.6 percent and Lexington was at 52.1 percent. Washington and Wayne were 47.4 and 34.3 percent, respectively.
Paige Wilson, U.S. Census media specialist for Oklahoma and Kansas, said the total response statewide for Oklahoma is 79.3 percent.
The 2010 Census self-response numbers for those towns was Purcell, 69.4 percent; Lexington, 63 percent; Goldsby, 68.8 percent; Washington, 54 percent, and Wayne, 61.2 percent.
So when response rates wouldn’t earn a passing grade on a school test, officials are justified in their disappointment.
What hasn’t yet been added are the numbers from census takers in the field
This is the first census to release total enumeration numbers, Wilson said.
With census takers going door-to-door and with online options, there is still time to count and be counted.