An Op-Ed from Oklahoma Governor Kevin Stitt
This year has brought many challenges to our state and the world, but today, we have something to celebrate. The U.S. Census Bureau has tallied up Oklahoma’s 2020 Census count and we have achieved a 99.9% response rate – joining all but one U.S. state in getting a complete count before the deadline.
This effort would not have been possible without the hard work and dedication of so many. In mid-2019, I assembled the Oklahoma Census 2020 Complete Count Committee which worked alongside the Oklahoma Department of Commerce, providing input, strategy and connections to lead the charge toward a complete count. With the help and guidance of this group, we were able to assemble a diverse team of dedicated volunteers to spread the word to every corner of our state. I wish I could thank every individual and organization, but the list is vast – an impressive combination of government at all levels (local, regional, tribal, state and federal) and numerous organizations and agencies – the Oklahoma Center for Non-Profits, the Oklahoma Institute for Child Advocacy, the Oklahoma Policy Institute, and many others.
These trusted partners utilized relationships in their local communities to encourage participation in the hard-to-count geographies and populations. And thanks to them, as well as countless nonprofit organizations across the state, numerous private businesses, various industry associations, and our state agencies, particularly those that were part of the Agency Ambassador program, we have ensured that Oklahoma receives needed funding for the next 10 years – approximately $60 billion for important services and programs, such as Medicaid for children, school nutrition programs, jobs programs, infrastructure, state wildlife grants and more.
I want to thank each and every Oklahoman who took the time to self-respond or fill out the census through an enumerator. We should all take pride in having played an instrumental role in shaping Oklahoma’s future for the next decade. Thank you to the many community leaders and partners who helped spread the word about the importance of the 2020 Census. And thanks to you for getting your household counted and telling others to do so, too.