April 17, 2020



Contact: Joe Dorman, CEO – Oklahoma Institute for Child Advocacy

Telephone: (405) 892-9205

Email: jdorman@oica.org


Poor Census Response Puts Millions of Dollars at Risk

OICA Renews Call for Oklahomans to Answer Census

OKLAHOMA CITY – Oklahoma continues to rank among the lowest states when it comes to responding to the 2020 U.S. Census.

According to Joe Dorman, CEO of the Oklahoma Institute for Child Advocacy (OICA) the state’s poor response is putting at risk millions of dollars and countless services the money would fund.

“In today’s world, resources are largely allocated to where the people are, and the way our Founding Fathers set it up to find out where people are is the Constitutional provision establishing a Census,” Dorman said. “If Oklahomans do not respond to the Census, then they literally ‘don’t count’ when it comes to bringing home federal tax dollars to pay for things, including childcare, school support, road funding and a host of services targeted to help children.”

Recent Census response rates at late as April 15 Indicate that Oklahoma as a state is running 5% below the national response rate of 49.8%, ranking 42nd in the nation. The highest ranking county in Oklahoma is Canadian County, with a response rate of 55.1%; even so, that ranking only places Canadian County 464th out of 3,203 counties. Oklahoma counties with the lowest response rates include Marshall (16.4% responding, ranking 2,978th); Beaver (14.9% responding, ranking 2,992nd); and Cimarron (8.4% responding, ranking 3,075th).

The 2020 Census asks a few simple questions about you and everyone who is or will be living with you on April 1, 2020. To respond to the Census by telephone, call 844-330-2020. There are other numbers for a variety of languages, including Spanish at 844-468-2020. For hearing impaired Oklahomans, the TDD number is 844-467-2020. The phone lines are open every day from 6 a.m. to 1 a.m. Central Daylight Time

The Census Bureau offers resources in English and 59 other languages so that everyone living in the United States can respond to the 2020 Census like our founding fathers intended when they put the Census in the U.S. Constitution.

Estimates are that for each person counted the state will get $1,700 back from the federal government. Oklahoma is estimated to have more than four million people living here, Dorman noted.

“If we miss even one out of every 100 Oklahomans, then we stand to lose $72 million every year,” he said. “Multiply that by the 10 years until the next Census, then Oklahoma would lose close to three-quarters of a billion dollars of our tax dollars that could go to so many worthwhile services, especially those for our children.”

OICA will host a conference call for up to 30,000 Oklahomans on Wednesday, April 22 over the lunch hour with issues experts that is free to participate.  This discussion will focus on health care issues during the pandemic, updates on the US Census and how this count ties to Medicaid funding for the state.  To register for the call, go to www.oica.org to sign up.

To find out more about the Census, go to www.2020census.gov. There is an Oklahoma state-specific website with information on the Census at https://okletscount.org/.