Justin Brown

Between a global pandemic, economic crisis and multiple natural disasters, there are few aspects of 2020 that any of us could have predicted, and many Oklahomans feel uncertain about the future. One thing we can do to build a stable and prosperous Oklahoma is for all Oklahomans to complete the 2020 U.S. Census.

It is critical that all Oklahomans are counted in the 2020 U.S. Census because important funding decisions are made based on Census participation. When you complete the Census, you ensure Oklahoma receives vital funding for initiatives like food assistance, education, infrastructure and healthcare, as well as programs like Medicaid and the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) for the next 10 years. Last year alone, Oklahoma’s SNAP program distributed more than $840,265,422 in food assistance to 378,417 Oklahoma families. But, without an accurate Census count, Oklahomans will lose out on this needed assistance, as well as an estimated $1,675 per person per household.

Now, less than 10 days until the Census deadline on Sept. 30, Oklahoma lags in overall Census responses, compared to the rest of the nation. The Census takes less than 10 minutes to complete and is key to shaping the future of our state and local communities over the next 10 years.

Oklahomans can easily fill out the Census in a variety of ways: online, by phone or in person. The form is available in multiple languages online at okletscount.org or by calling 844-330-2020. To fill out the Census in person, Oklahomans can go to the Oklahoma City Thunder voter registration drive at the Chesapeake Energy Arena on Sept. 26 or to select Supermercado Morales grocery stores in the Oklahoma City and Tulsa areas.

At OKDHS, we see firsthand the impact the Census has on the 1.2 million Oklahomans we serve each year. Census funding is vital to improving the quality of life for vulnerable Oklahomans, including low-income families and children in foster care. But, when you fail to complete the Census, you keep your community from receiving the resources it needs to support your family and your fellow Oklahomans.

Ten years can make a big difference, and 10 minutes is all it takes to fill out the Census and ensure your community is set up for success, both now and through 2030. Please set aside time before Sept. 30 to complete the Census at okletscount.org.

Justin Brown is the Secretary of Human Services and Early Childhood Initiatives.

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