The Legislature has two big jobs this year: balance the state’s budget and redraw the boundary lines for Congress and the state Senate and House.
So far, it’s been fairly quiet on the redistricting front, at least publicly. But behind the scenes, you can be sure there’s a lot going on.
The “easy” part–Congressional redistricting–is on its way to completion. Unlike a decade ago when the state lost a seat, the congressional plan was easier this year because Oklahoma stayed at five seats. The House approved a congressional redistricting bill earlier this week. Here’s what the proposed map looks like, according to House Bill 1527: (click for larger version)
A closer look at the map shows there are not a lot of differences between the current congressional district lines and the proposed changes. Essentially, the state’s lone Democrat, Rep. Dan Boren in the 2nd Congressional District, now gets Marshall County on the Texas border and
gives up gains some suburban Tulsa territory in Rogers County. There also are some changes to Rep. Tom Cole’s 4th District and Rep. James Lankford’s 5th District, mostly around Tinker Air Force Base. Rep. Frank Lucas picks up more population in fast-growing (and solidly Republican) Canadian County, courtesy of Cole. Around Tulsa, the 1st District’s Rep. John Sullivan picks up a little territory to the west in Creek County.
If you want to try making your own map, check out the free site, Daves Redistricting. Without any nods to current allegiances, politics or the Voting Rights Act, I made my own quick-and-dirty version of congressional redistricting. I had one requirement for my map: each district had to stay within the county lines.
My take: It’s a lot harder than it looks.
Even with all the tools available on Daves Redistricting site, I managed to leave out about 900 people, who have effectively been disenfranchised by my map. (A court would surely throw out my plan!) Also, I have Lankford’s 5th District (yellow below) with about 10,000 more residents than it should have. Ideally, each congressional district should have 750,270 people, according to the latest Census data. Lucas’ 3rd District is in purple, Cole’s 4th District is in red, Boren’s 2nd District is green and Sullivan’s 1st District is in blue.
Here’s my map: (click for larger version)
Under my map, all of Oklahoma and Logan counties are now in the 5th District. Boren’s 2nd District moves westward on its southern section, picking up Ardmore. Cole gets all of Canadian County and Pottawatomie County. Lankford gets the so-called “Tinker Notch” in Oklahoma County. To replace the loss of Canadian County, Lucas takes in population north of Tulsa and in northeastern Oklahoma.
For some more Oklahoma congressional redistricting options, check out this message board for political map junkies.
Lawmakers now have about five weeks left in the session to complete the harder redistricting task for the state House and Senate. Capitol reporter Michael McNutt has an update on that here.
The main things to watch for in legislative redistricting are how they will redistrict seats with declining rural populations and which seats are held by term-limited lawmakers. Oklahoma Watchdog has more on that here.
You can also try your hand at redrawing legislative districts at Daves Redistricting. I haven’t tried that option, yet, but it doesn’t seem like an easy task. Each new House district should have about 37,142 residents. Under House rules, you’re allowed to deviate from those ideal numbers no more than plus or minus 3 percent, or about 1,100 people. Ideally, each new Senate district should have 78,153 residents.
For more on redistricting in general, check out the following sites:
- Oklahoma House of Representatives Redistricting
- National Conference of State Legislatures Redistricting
- U.S. Census: Redistricting Data
- Redistricting the Nation
- Election Data Services
- Brennan Center for Justice: A Citizen’s Guide to Redistricting
- The Redistricting Game
The U.S. Census Bureau today finished rolling out redistricting population totals from all 50 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico. It had until April 1 to do so, meaning it finished a little ahead of schedule.
The Census also released some new information on where the population center of the United States is now. That’s the point where if the country were a flat sheet of paper, it would balance according to population. (That also assumes each person is the same weight.) Here’s their map of that new point, near Plato in southern Missouri, and how the population center has shifted over time.
The agency also released similar information for all the states. Oklahoma’s population center for 2010 is just outside the town of Sparks in Lincoln County.
I created a map using GeoCommons for all the state centers of population. You can view it by clicking on the image below or going here.
The U.S. Census Bureau last week released the first batch of Oklahoma data from the 2010 Census. Here’s a list of what we covered in print and online:
- Oklahoma Census: State Hispanic population grows 85 percent since 2000
- Population growth in suburbs, declines in rural areas will have political ramifications
- New metro boom towns include Piedmont, Blanchard
We’ve added those stories to our existing Census continuing coverage page on NewsOK, too.
If you get a chance, check out the map I created using census data at the tract level for central Oklahoma. I pulled out eight central Oklahoma counties and plotted the growth for each census tract over the last decade. In this map, the size of the bubble shows how many people each tract added, with the smallest bubble representing a population decrease: (Adobe Flash required)
I also made another version, above, that shows the same information, but this time uses shaded census tracts instead of bubbles. I think the bubble map is easier to figure out, but if you think differently, let me know in the comments below.
In both of these maps, I went with the raw population change by census tract. I could have gone with percent change over the last decade, but there were some sparsely populated tracts that added (or lost) a handful of people, so that threw off the ranges of percent change. I went with the actual population change to get a better idea of just which census tracts these new residents were going to (or leaving).
I’m a big fan of Geocommons, the service I used to make those maps. One of the conditions of using their free (for now) service is that you have to make your data available to the public. Since all of this data originally came from the U.S. Census Bureau, you can search for “Oklahoma” in Geocommons and make your own maps based on the data and GIS files I uploaded to the site.
To get started, read this helpful user guide on the Geocommons site.
Finally, a big thanks goes out to Investigative Reporters & Editors and USA Today, who provided some of the population comparisons to the 2000 Census in the data I used. For more on what other papers are doing with their census data, check out Anthony DeBarros’ blog.
From Sunday’s paper:
By PAUL MONIES
pmonies (at) opubco.com
Three out of four Oklahoma counties showed increases in the last decade in the number of residents who were born outside the United States, with much of the growth coming in the Panhandle, western Oklahoma and metropolitan counties.
Nationally, Oklahoma ranked 32nd in the percentage of foreign-born residents, according to estimates from the U.S. Census Bureau’s American Community Survey from 2005-09.
About 5 percent of Oklahoma’s 3.75 million residents were born outside the United States. That compares to about 27 percent for California and almost 15 percent for Arizona. At 1.3 percent, West Virginia rounds out the bottom of the rankings.
An estimated 12.5 percent of the nation’s residents — 38.5 million people — were born in a foreign country, the Census Bureau said.
The latest estimates come amid a continuing political debate at the Capitol and across the country about immigration. The Census Bureau does not ask about the legal status of immigrants, meaning the foreign-born estimates include both documented and undocumented immigrants and naturalized citizens.
Foreign-born residents come from all over the world to Oklahoma and have a variety of skills, said Deidre Myers, director of policy, research and economic analysis with the state Commerce Department. Manufacturing, agricultural processing, technology and service industries are all attracting immigrants from foreign countries, she said.
Among Oklahoma’s estimated 190,000 residents who were born in foreign countries, 60 percent were from Latin American countries, the Census Bureau said. Another 24 percent were from Asian countries. About 8 percent hailed from Europe.
“Oklahoma is a dynamic economy, so why wouldn’t we have people from different areas looking for opportunity in Oklahoma?” Myers said.
Generally, counties west of Interstate 35 had higher rates of foreign-born residents than those in eastern Oklahoma, according to an analysis of census data by The Oklahoman. Exceptions to that were Tulsa County in the northeast and Marshall County on the state’s southern border.
“You see a lot of growth in the foreign-born population in those areas that have a very strong agricultural and manufacturing presence; of course we see this in western Oklahoma and the Panhandle,” Myers said.
“A second area that people don’t often think about is that we’ve had a lot of foreign-born growth in high-skilled research and development, biosciences, nanosciences and other kinds of very high-tech positions. We’re seeing this kind of growth in Tulsa, Oklahoma and Cleveland counties, where you have a university or a very strong knowledge-based industry cluster.”
Texas County, which held the state’s top spot in foreign-born residents in 2000, stayed at the top in the latest estimates. The foreign-born population in that Panhandle county rose to 21.3 percent from 16.9 percent in 2000. Many immigrants have been drawn to hog processor Seaboard Corp., which has more than 3,000 employees at its Guymon plant.
Remaining in second place was another Panhandle county, Cimarron County, which had 11.5 percent of its residents from foreign countries in the 2005 to 2009 Census estimates. That’s up from 10.3 percent in 2000.
Blaine County appeared to show the largest growth in foreign-born residents in the last decade. An estimated 9.5 percent of its residents were born outside the United States. That compared to 3.5 percent in 2000.
Craig Cummins, superintendent of Watonga Public Schools, said many recent immigrants have found work on oil and gas rigs. Elsewhere in the county are dog food and gypsum wallboard factories.
“Our Hispanic population is our fastest-growing ethnic group,” said Cummins, who has been Watonga superintendent for eight years. “It is a challenge sometimes for classroom teachers, but the kids are accepted and they do give back to the school system. They provide some cultural experiences and they participate in our extracurricular activities.”
Farther south, Marshall County’s percentage of foreign-born residents rose to 7.4 percent in the latest estimates, up from 5 percent in 2000.
Light manufacturing for horse trailers and agricultural equipment has been a steady part of the industrial base in Marshall County for a number of years and has attracted immigrants, said Chris Moore, a board member with the Marshall County Chamber of Commerce.
Moore, a personal banker at Landmark Bank in Madill, said several tellers speak Spanish to help customers.
“We have a large Hispanic customer base, and not having Spanish-speaking employees, we would definitely lose that,” Moore said. “It’s important to our business now.”
The first batch of data came out from the U.S. Census Bureau last week, and the results for Oklahoma were pretty much what most people expected: steady growth and no change in the number of congressional seats. (Read my story here.)
For the record, Oklahoma’s population stood at 3,751,351 residents in April of this year. That’s up more than 300,000 people, or 8.7 percent, from the population in 2000.
The first Census numbers are important because they are used for the decennial apportionment of congressional seats. Oklahoma, which lost a seat after the 2000 Census, will stay at five House seats.
Overall, 18 states will trade 12 House seats in the 2012 elections. Texas, which added four seats, and Florida, with another two seats, were the big winners. Adding single seats were Arizona, Georgia, Nevada, South Carolina, Utah and Washington. Among the losers are New York and Ohio, both of which will lose two seats. Meanwhile, Illinois, Iowa, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Michigan, Missouri, New Jersey and Pennsylvania each will lose one seat.
The population base for the apportionment numbers is slightly higher than what the Census counts as the resident population. That’s because the apportionment numbers include military and federal employees posted overseas. In Oklahoma, the apportionment population was 3,764,882. That included 13,531 Oklahomans overseas. The state ranked 24th in the number of residents overseas.
Apportionment tries to keep the number of people in each House seat at roughly the same levels. This year, the average number of residents in each congressional district reached 710,767 people. That’s up from 646,942 people in the average congressional district in 2000.
However, because of the way the apportionment formula works, not all states will have 710,767 people in each of their congressional districts. Before any seats are doled out on population, each state gets one House seat automatically. The remaining 385 seats are distributed according to a formula, called the “method of equal proportions,” that’s been in use since 1941.
The following chart shows each state’s average population per congressional district after the latest apportionment. Click for a larger version
As you can see, Oklahoma’s per-seat average is almost 42,000 more than the U.S. average of 710,767. Arizona and Wisconsin are pretty close to the average. Every state above them in the chart can be thought of as having disproportionately less influence per seat than the states below them. Seven states have at-large congressional seats; their populations range from 568,300 for Wyoming to 994,416 for Montana.
Keith Gaddie, a political science professor at the University of Oklahoma, said what counts in apportionment is the relative growth of states. Even though Oklahoma added 300,000 people in the last decade, its growth rate was still a full percentage point lower than the nation as a whole. And compared to Texas’ growth rate of 20.6 percent, Oklahoma is lagging. The Lone Star State added more than 4.2 million people in the last decade.
“Texas added more people over the last decade than there are in Oklahoma,” Gaddie said. “Texas grew so much, it grew an entire Oklahoma. Texas now has over seven times the voting power in Congress than Oklahoma does. In 1930, Texas only had twice the voting power in Congress that Oklahoma had. We appear to be headed in a very different direction in terms of the size and influence of the Congressional delegation.”
Despite that, the “redness” of the state will work in our favor once the 112th Congress begins in January. With the Republican takeover in the House, several Oklahoma lawmakers will get prime committee seats. For example, U.S. Rep. Frank Lucas, R-Cheyenne, will chair the House Agriculture Committee.
Gaddie said Oklahoma was 16th in line to add a House seat this time around. The state would have had to add another 125,000 new residents to gain a seat under the apportionment formula, according to Election Data Services.
There’s been some controversy over whether the Census Bureau should count undocumented immigrants when it comes to apportionment. Clark Bensen at Polidata Co. has some interesting comments about counting only citizens in Oklahoma and other states:
CITIZEN POPULATION: Had the apportionment been done on the basis of citizen population, there would have been many differences. Of course, the important caveat here is that this is merely an illustrative exercise because of both legal and technical considerations. To assess the rate of citizenship the source is the 2009 1-year release of the American Community Survey (ACS). Changes over the 2000 actual apportionment would have been significant had this rule been applied.
For example, using this estimate of the citizen population as the apportionment base:
a) CA would have not remained the same but lost 5 seats.
b) NY would have not lost 2 seats but lost 3 seats,
c) TX would have not gained 4 seats but gained only 2 seats.
d) OH would have not lost 2 seats but lost only 1 seat.
e) FL would have gained not 2 seats but gained only 1 seat.
f) other states that would have gained a seat or not lost a seat include: MT, OK, MO (not lost), IN, PA (not lost), and NC.
In the end, this kind of analysis is futile because the Fourteenth Amendment requires apportionment to count each person, regardless of their citizenship or immigration status:
Representatives shall be apportioned among the several States according to their respective numbers, counting the whole number of persons in each State, excluding Indians not taxed.
The data must be used to apportion the House seats among the states, although there is no constitutional requirement it be used to determine intrastate districts. It appears the term “whole number of persons” is broad enough to include all individuals, regardless of citizenship status, and thus would appear to require the entire population be included in the apportionment calculation. As such, it appears a constitutional amendment would be necessary to exclude any individuals from the census count for the purpose of apportioning House seats.
The U.S. Census Bureau, which releases some sort of data nearly every week, released its largest trove of data in a decade earlier this week with the 5-year estimates for the American Community Survey. Next week, it will release the first batch of results from the 2010 Census conducted earlier this year.
Here’s a quick rundown of what’s important in each release:
American Community Survey 5-year estimates
These are estimates of all types of demographic and sociological information for every part of the country, from states all the way down to the smallest census-level geography called a block group. The American Community Survey is sent to 3 million households each year. From those surveys, the Census Bureau can perform estimates in several categories.
- To look up your community in the latest ACS estimates, check out the American Factfinder tool.
This latest 5-year ACS release covers 2005 to 2009. The Census Bureau has been releasing similar information, in either 1-year estimates or 3-year estimates, for larger levels of population since 2007. For example, 1-year ACS estimates cover places with more than 65,000 people. The 3-year estimates cover places with more than 20,000 people.
Since this is a survey, and not an actual count like the decennial census, these data points come with margins of error, much like you’d see margins of error in an election poll. The Census Bureau has a lot of technical documentation on how it figures the estimates, but what you need to know is that the smaller the population area, the higher the margin of error.
For example, the margin of error for the percentage of high school graduates in Wellston, Okla., is plus/minus 10 percentage points. For Oklahoma City, the same category has a margin of error of plus/minus 0.5 percentage points. That’s because Wellston has a population of about 1,000 people, and Oklahoma City has about 546,000 people. Fewer ACS surveys went to Wellston residents than they did to residents in Oklahoma City, but the Census also takes confidentiality into account.
Here’s how the Census Bureau describes it:
To maintain confidentiality, the Census Bureau applies statistical procedures that introduce some uncertainty into data for geographic areas with small population groups.
Despite these limitations at really small places or units of geography, the ACS data is still useful to policymakers, academics and the public. The real benefit from having this ACS data will come in the next few years, when we have a baseline against which we can compare new data releases.
The New York Times released a slick-looking interactive map showing some of the latest ACS estimates: Click for an interactive version
The newspaper, with the help of Social Explorer, plotted various demographic estimates for each Census tract in the country. They used what’s called a dot-distribution map, which spaced out the dots randomly within the area of that particular tract. While it’s visually compelling, that can cause dots to show up in strange places, like the middle of a lake.
2010 Census Apportionment/State Population data
This is the first batch of information from the 2010 census. It will be limited to population counts for the nation and states. By law, this data has to be reported to the president by Dec. 31.
The census uses this information to do apportionment, the allocation of congressional seats in the House of Representatives. Unlike 2000, when Oklahoma lost a congressional seat, there will be no change in the number of House seats this year.
The number of House seats–which now stands at 435–has been set since 1911. The first House of Representatives had just 65 seats in 1787. That rose to 105 after the 1790 Census.
For more on apportionment, check out this video from the Census Bureau:
Here’s some more information on previous population totals by state: Click for an interactive version
The Wall Street Journal had an interesting graphic today on its website from the latest American Community Survey data. The newspaper ranked all the nation’s metro areas for a quick index for housing stress.
I compiled similar data for the 11 Oklahoma counties covered under the latest ACS data. As you can see, Muskogee County appears to have the highest housing-stress index in Oklahoma. Rogers and Canadian counties are faring the best. The national average is 87.5, so even Muskogee County is faring well compared to the rest of the nation.
The WSJ housing-stress indicator is made up of three components: the percentage of the population not in the labor force; the percentage without health insurance; and the percentage of homeowners with a mortgage spending more than 30 percent of their income on housing costs. From the Real Time Economics blog:
Financial advisers warn against spending more than 30% of a household’s income on housing costs, as it can crimp other expenditures and savings. It also leaves little room for unexpected shocks to income, such as illness or unemployment. Miami was at the top because it had the highest percentage of mortgage holders spending more than 30% on housing among large metro areas — 57.7% compared to the national average of 37.5%. At the same time, a quarter of the city’s residents are without health insurance — compared to the national average of 15% — making it difficult to deal with a the expense created by an illness and still pay a mortgage.
Click on the image below for the WSJ rankings of the metro areas.
Update: You can see the underlying numbers for the Oklahoma counties here.
The Census Bureau came out with new data yesterday on poverty, health insurance coverage and income at the national and state level.
I had a wrap-up of the highlights in today’s paper. Overall, it’s one of those “good news, bad news” reports.
Nationally, poverty rose and health insurance coverage declined in 2009, the Census said. Both are likely traced to the continuing recession.
In Oklahoma, the number of people in poverty declined to about 468,000 people, down from an estimated 484,000 in 2009. But you’d be hard pressed to find many people trumpeting the decline, especially as demand remains high at food banks and the number of people on food stamps continues to grow. (The Oklahoma Department of Human Services reports that more than 588,000 Oklahomans were on food stamps in June 2010, an increase of 19.5 percent from June 2009.)
As with any statistical report, the devil is in the details with the Census data. It’s important to note that this week’s numbers come from the Current Population Survey’s Annual Social and Economic Supplement, a long-running Census product that surveys 100,000 households each year:
The Annual Social and Economic Supplement to the Current Population Survey (CPS ASEC) is designed to give annual, calendar-year, national estimates of income and official poverty numbers and rates. It is, nonetheless, used for many other purposes, including the allocation of federal funding.
. . . The Basic CPS is used to calculate the monthly unemployment rate estimates. Supplements are added in most months; the ASEC is conducted in February, March, and April with a sample of about 100,000 addresses per year. The questionnaire asks about income from more than 50 sources and records up to 27 different income amounts, including receipt of numerous noncash benefits, such as Supplemental Nutrition Assistance (formerly known as the food stamp program), subsidized school lunches, and housing assistance.
The Census tries to caution against too many state-to-state comparisons with the supplemental data, mainly because survey sizes at the the state level are sometimes too small to be meaningful in any given year. That’s partly why I used two-year averages when describing state-level changes in today’s story.
I called the Census yesterday for some explanation, but they needed to research the issue and couldn’t get back to me in time for the newspaper deadline. Here’s what Jessica Smith, a data specialist at the Census Bureau, said about the Oklahoma health insurance anomaly this afternoon:
We couldn’t find anything out of the ordinary with the data, but we don’t recommend people use single-year data for the CPS for single states because the sample sizes are too small.
Meanwhile, the Census will be releasing new data from its American Community Survey later this month. That survey uses a much larger sample size and a different methodology from the Current Population Survey. It will have details from smaller geographies such as counties and Congressional districts:
The American Community Survey (ACS), replaced the decennial census long-form sample questionnaire. The ACS offers broad, comprehensive information on social, economic, and housing data and is designed to provide this information at many levels of geography. During the 2000-2004 testing program, the ACS collected income data for a much larger sample than the CPS ASEC (about 800,000 addresses per year). Beginning in 2005, the ACS sample size grew to about 3 million addresses. As with the decennial census long form, the ACS relies heavily on questionnaire responses mailed in by respondents. These estimates are collected on a rolling basis every month throughout the year, and the questionnaire asks about eight types of income received in the previous 12 months. For example, those interviewed in January 2010 were asked about income received in the January to December 2009 period, and those interviewed in December 2009 were asked about the December 2008 to November 2009 period.
So, don’t be surprised if the American Community Survey data coming out Sept. 28 has a little different picture of the state’s economic and social well-being.
Note: This is a slightly longer version of today’s story:
BY PAUL MONIES
The natural rivalry between the Oklahoma’s two largest cities has been overtaken by the way both have grown in the last decade.
Oklahoma City now has more in common with Tampa, Fla., and Boise, Idaho, than it does with Tulsa. Meanwhile, Tulsa is more like Wichita, Kan., and Cleveland, Ohio, than Oklahoma City.
That’s according to a new study of Census data in the nation’s top 100 metropolitan areas — which include two-thirds of the U.S. population — by the Brookings Institution, a Washington, D.C.-based public policy organization. The metros range in size from 500,000 people in Modesto, Calif., to 19 million in New York City. The study clusters metro areas into seven groups that share characteristics.
As a “mid-sized magnet” metro, Oklahoma City has had higher growth, lower diversity and lower educational levels than most other metropolitan areas. Tulsa, grouped into the “industrial core” type, has lower growth, lower diversity and lower educational attainment than the national average among metros.
“The new metro map of the United States forces us to think outside the conventional regional boxes that have informed America’s narrative for generations,” said Bruce Katz, vice president and director of the Brookings Metropolitan Policy Program.
The Brookings analysis highlights the changing nature of America’s metro areas, central cities and their suburbs from 2000 to 2008. In Oklahoma, Tulsa and Oklahoma City are at the front lines of emerging immigration, income and aging trends. Among the highlights:
- Migration: Oklahoma City ranked seventh and Tulsa ranked 15th in the percentage of residents who moved in the last year.
- Income: Tulsa suburbs ranked second in median household income growth from 2000 to 2008. Oklahoma City suburbs ranked 14th in the same category. However, median household income in the two metro areas overall slipped because of declines in the central cities.
- Immigration: Oklahoma City suburbs ranked 10th in the proportion of foreign-born immigrants who have arrived since 2000. Tulsa suburbs ranked 94th in that category. Because it uses census data, the Brookings analysis does not make the distinction between legal and illegal immigrants.
- Education: Roughly one-fourth of residents in Oklahoma City and Tulsa metro areas have bachelor’s degrees, putting the Oklahoma City metro at No. 69 and the Tulsa metro at No. 79.
- Transportation: The Oklahoma City metro area ranks eighth nationally in the percentage of commuters who drive to work alone. The Tulsa metro area came in at No. 30.
Neither Oklahoma City nor Tulsa was affected by the rapid rise and fall of home values affecting many other metro areas that was a factor in the current recession. Although both metros have been hit by manufacturing and service job losses and rising unemployment, their relatively stable housing markets and energy companies have buffeted those declines.
“As the economy began to deteriorate in other parts of the country, Oklahoma City was prospering,” said Eric Long, manager of economic research for the Greater Oklahoma City Chamber. “Low unemployment, coupled with stability in our housing market, were big factors.”
Long said inquiries about relocating to Oklahoma City from both companies and individuals have picked up after dropping off in the last year or so. Many come from people looking for a fresh start.
“They are unhappy with employment and cost of living issues in their home states and have heard about Oklahoma City,” Long said. “They may not have relatives or know anyone here, but are still willing to take a chance on our city.”
Retaining college grads
Officials from Tulsa and Oklahoma City chambers mentioned the importance of attracting and retaining college graduates and entrepreneurs, who in the past might have sought jobs or started companies in larger regional metros such as Dallas or Denver.
Susan Harris, senior vice president of education and workforce for the Tulsa Metro Chamber, said if the Tulsa area can grow its percentage of residents with college degrees just one percentage point, it would mean an extra $646 million per year in economic activity. The Tulsa metro area had a gross domestic product of $45 billion in 2008, according to the federal Bureau of Economic Analysis.
“We know a city that doesn’t grow dies, so growth is important,” Harris said. “Everything we’re doing is about making sure we are open and receptive to new people coming in and living here, locating their businesses and bringing their families and we are receptive to higher density development in the inner core of the city.
Harris said the chamber is working with colleges, universities and businesses to identify residents who were close to finishing a degree but never did. Another effort includes tightening the integration of career pathways. For example, in the nursing field, it includes ways for certified nursing assistants to get their licensed practical nurse certification and for registered nurses to get bachelor of science degrees in nursing.
More poor in suburbs
Nationally, the Brookings report found 53 percent of the metro poor now live in suburbs, up from 48 percent in 2000. This increasing suburbanization of poverty has implications for policymakers, who have traditionally directed social programs to large cities, said Alan Berube, Ö who headed up the analysis for the Metropolitan Policy Program.
The latest food stamp numbers from the state Department of Human Services shows that the number of people getting food stamps in the Oklahoma City and Tulsa metros rose more than 30 percent between February 2009 and February 2010. But most outlying counties in those metro areas posted higher percentage increases than Oklahoma and Tulsa counties.
Katz, meanwhile, said America’s population growth and diversity, particularly in its metro areas, may be its “ace in the hole.”
“In the global context, the United States is a demographically blessed nation,” he said. “Established competitors like Japan, Britain and Germany are either growing slowly or actually declining; rising nations like China remain relatively homogenous.”
The Oklahoman’s Watchdog Team: Looking out for you.
Read the entire Brookings report on the new metro landscape.
Oklahoma fact sheets:
The mail part of the Census for 2010 has ended, and the results aren’t pretty for Oklahoma.
The U.S. Census Bureau said today that Oklahoma’s mail participation rate came in at 66 percent, down from 69 percent in the 2000 census. You can check out a Google map of the latest participation rates at the Census’ Take 10 site. Here’s the latest map of the mail participation rates by county in Oklahoma:
Nationally, the mail participation rate this year was 72 percent, unchanged from 2000, the Census said in a news release. Oklahoma’s participation rate of 66 percent in 2010 put it in the bottom tier of states, along with Louisiana, West Virginia, New Mexico and Alaska.
Wisconsin lead all states with a mail participation rate of 81 percent. It was followed by Minnesota, Indiana, Iowa and Michigan.
The next phase of the Census is the home visits by Census enumerators. They will begin showing up this weekend:
The nation’s response helps pave the way for the next phase of the 2010 Census: the deployment of 635,000 census takers across the country who will go door to door to obtain census responses from all remaining households. The temporary census workers are in training this week and will begin obtaining census responses this weekend.