Every person counts and every person matters, according to Julie Sanders with Southwestern Oklahoma Development Authority (SWODA) and representative for the 2020 Census, who encouraged those in the area to fill out the questionnaire as soon as possible.

Sanders said the Census aids in organizing the details in the lives of the community and is important for future growth.

“The census is required by the constitution,” Sanders said. “Every 10 years we have a count. It’s the basis for all the federal grants, it’s the basis that schools need for future growth. The census data is important, it impacts every walk of life.” 

Sanders represents a 16-county region and 119 municipalities in her local area. As of last week, Sanders said Stephens County as a whole had a response rate of 53.6%. The lowest response rate so far comes from Velma which has only had 9.7% of people respond.

“Who else is going to invest in us if we don’t invest in ourselves,” Sanders said. “We have to take the lead.”

Traditionally, Census is conducted in person via door knockers or via paper mailing. This is the first year the Census has gone digital, Sanders said.

So why is it important to respond? Sanders said the numbers from the census are set for 10 years federal funds is based upon census numbers.

“Every walk of life is impacted by census numbers and the amount of money that’s brought into the state,” Sanders said.

Sanders encouraged Stephens County residents to engage and to fill out their census for the upcoming years because it affects so many facets of life, including schools, libraries, roads and more.

“It takes leadership in the community to make this a number one priority,” Sanders said.

If those in the area need help responding to the census, they can contact someone for help in walking through the process.

Resources in the community and those who can help with questions about the Census include: Chris Deal at the Duncan Chamber of Commerce can be reached by email at ccpres@duncanchamber.com or by calling 580-255-3644; Tom Zigler with the Association of South Central Oklahoma Governments (ASCOG), who can be reached at 580-736-7965 or zigl_to@ascog.org; Sanders, who can be reached by calling 580-562-4885 or by emailing julie@swoda.org.

To complete the 2020 census, visit https://2020census.gov.

Recommended for you