2010 Census Could Mean Big Changes For Oklahoma

Wednesday, January 14th 2009, 9:19 pm
By: News 9

By Jennifer Pierce, NEWS 9

OKLAHOMA CITY -- The US Census Bureau is preparing for the 2010 census, and state and city leaders want all Oklahomans to be counted.

Not only does the Census mean jobs for Oklahomans, as they are currently hiring workers, but it helps the government determine where state tax dollars go.

"It's been called the largest non-military mobilization in U.S. history," said Dennis Johnson of the U.S. Census Bureau.

On Wednesday, city and state leaders kicked off the 2010 census.

"Not everything the legislature does has an impact for 10 years," Lt. Governor Jari Askins said.

The Census results could mean millions of federal dollars for education, road projects, veterans, Medicare and Medicaid, and another voice representing Oklahomans in Washington.

"We did lose a congressional seat in the 2000 census results," state research analyst Steven Barker said. "We're not expected to do that in this coming census, however, we do need to keep in mind if we get an accurate count and measure...perhaps in 2020 census results we might see a gain of that sixth district coming back."

To objective to get everyone counted could be a difficult task for some minority groups.

"I think the Asian community was scared of the government and scared of the census and wasn't educated in terms of what the census was doing," Asian community leader Ba Luong said.

Minority leaders plan to educate their communities and dispel any fears citizens may have about the census.

"It's so important to get out here in the community and make sure everybody understands the important of being counted," said David Castillo of the Oklahoma City Hispanic Chamber of Commerce.

Officials said the 2010 census is expected to be the shortest questionnaire in decades.