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Why answering the census is important
Why answering the census is important
Sheli McAdoo
Monday, March 09, 2020

The 2020 Census will be available to complete on April 1.

The Census determines how much federal funding and services our towns, cities and schools receive each year for the next decade.

Each undercounted person means an estimated $1,675 less per year (or $16,750 per person in Oklahoma over the next 10 years) in lost funding, grants and support for our communities – so accurate representation is important!

For example, in 2015, the following U.S. Department of Education state aid programs received funding based on census data:

  • Federal Pell Grant Program

  • Title 1 Grants to Local Educational Agencies

  • Special Education Grants to States

  • Vocational Rehabilitation State Grants

  • Improving Teacher Quality State Grants

  • Career and Technical Education - Basic Grants to States

  • English Language Acquisition Grants

  • Adult Education - Basic Grants to States

  • Special Education Grants for Infants and Families

  • Special Education Preschool Grants

  • Rural Education

  • Safe and Drug-Free Schools and Communities State Grants

  • Supported Employment Services for Individuals with Significant Disabilities

  • Program of Protection and Advocacy of Individual Rights

  • Rehabilitation Services Client Assistance Program

  • Independent Living State Grants

  • SNAP (not a USDE grant, but still contingent on the census)

These programs would be hurt by an undercount on the census.

The 2020 Census takes less than 15 minutes to complete, and the impact it has on our communities is far-reaching and long-lasting.

Please educate the families and stakeholders in your district about the importance of the Census for your district and local schools.

How to Help

Schools can be effective in reaching out to hard-to-count populations by providing information about the benefits of Census 2020 and encouraging participation.

Oklahoma has over a million people considered hard-to-count. These individuals are often:

  • Non-English speaking

  • Very low-income immigrants with various kinds of immigration status

  • Without permanent housing

  • Distrustful of government forms

  • Lacking in internet access or familiarity (the internet will be the primary way for the Census to count people).

How to reach hard-to-count people in your community:

  • Host training workshops to train staff to be able to talk about the Census, answer key questions and address concerns.

  • Distribute fact sheets and posters about the Census at meetings, events and community gathering places.

  • Set up and oversee computers and phones for people to complete the Census in your office.

  • Plan and host a Census Day event on April 1, 2020.

  • Consider ways to provide space, support and guidance that facilitate Census participation.

Download a variety of informational resources here.

Helpful information to share:

  • Census answers are confidential. The Census Bureau is legally bound to handle all data confidentially, and answers are not shared with anyone – not the FBI, IRS, ICE or any other agency.

  • It’s easy. Census day is April 1; however, online responses will be accepted beginning in March. Responses can be done online, by paper or over the phone.

  • The Census will be printed in English and Spanish. Telephone assistance and the online Census questionnaire will be available in 13 languages. Guides and glossaries will be available in 59 non-English languages and Braille.

For more information, visit okletscount.org or contact the Oklahoma Census team at (405) 815-6552.