Sixty-six percent of Oklahomans who were sent a U.S. Census form in the mail have returned it. Nationally, the rate is at 72 percent.
So we’re a bit behind. Ten years ago, 69 percent of Oklahomans responded to the census. So there is a big chance for Oklahoma to catch up, especially now that the Census Bureau has started going door to door.
On Saturday, some 635,000 census takers began visiting the first of what is an estimated 48 million addresses they will go to by mid-July. There will be 5,000 to 6,000 of those census takers working in Oklahoma, according to officials.
The Census is constitutionally mandated to occur every 10 years. Census data are used to apportion Congressional seats to states, to distribute more than $400 billion in federal funds to tribal, state and local governments each year and to make decisions about what community services to provide.
The 2010 Census is only 10 questions long, one of the shortest in history and even if you pondered every question, shouldn’t take more than 10 minutes — I’m assuming most of us won’t have to think long to count the people living in our home with us.
To check how many people in a specific county in Oklahoma have returned forms the U.S. Census Bureau has a pretty cool map that allows you to drill down to your community.
On the page you can find this little widget to track the census on your webpage.
Now that the door-to-door phase has begun, that number should keep going up. Government officials have vowed to continue counting until everybody is counted.
According to the Census Bureau, workers are hired from the community they serve and all have undergone an FBI background check. They are also trained to leave a residence at any sign of hostility.
Census takers will make up to six attempts to count residents at each address and, if still unsuccessful, may ask a neighbor, building manager or some other person familiar with the residence to obtain basic information about the people living there.