Rep. Pfeiffer: Census important to secure funding for local services

It’s important for every household in House District 38 to fill out the Census.

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Getting an accurate count is vital to our communities as this results in us having access to federal funds that follow population numbers. This funding flows to our schools, our rural medical clinics, our fire departments and public safety services, our roads and more.

Each community in Oklahoma is in effect competing with others for this funding, and we want to make sure our area gets its fair share. Right now, Grant County has a Census response rate of 43.3%; Kay County 59.8%; Garfield 60.7%; Noble 55.4%; and Logan 60.3%.

For every Oklahoman not counted, we lose an estimated $1,675 in federal funds each year. Multiplied by 10 – the number of years until the next census – that’s almost $17,000 missed PER PERSON, which would go to other states. An undercount in the Census of just 2% can cost the state $1.8 billion over the next 10 years.

Filling out the Census is easy and should take less than 10 minutes. The easiest way is to fill it out online at https://2020census.gov/. You can also answer questions by phone at 844-330-2020, or you can mail in the form that delivered to your house.

The Census also helps determine how much representation each state has at the federal level. Oklahoma lost a congressional seat after the 2000 Census when counts showed our population shrunk. The Census also determines how state House and Senate districts are drawn. Census counts are used to keep an even number of constituents in each districts. That’s why our House district covers such a large area and why there are so many more districts in more densely populated metropolitan areas like Oklahoma City and Tulsa. We want to make sure our rural voices are heard just the same as our urban and metropolitan counterparts, but we have to have an accurate count of our residents. If the Census shows our district has shrunk in population, it’s possible we could lose a community to a surrounding district.

Taking a Census of the population of the United States of America every ten years is required by the U.S. Constitution to ensure government can respond adequately to the needs of each resident.

Again, I urge each household to fill out this year’s Census. Please be counted!

If you have questions or issues, feel free to contact me at john.pfeiffer@okhouse.gov or (405) 557-7332. 

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