Holding our own
Sometimes no change is a good thing, considering the alternative. Although growing more slowly than it was, Oklahoma’s population change between July of 2007 and July of 2008 kept it in 28th place among the states. In terms of the pace of population growth, the state ranked 19th in the nation. Oklahoma had 3,642,361 residents as of July and grew by just over 34,000. At this rate, it will be a long time before we hit 4 million. Why is no change in the overall ranking good? It at least keeps the state in the running in the race against loss of influence as measured by its congressional delegation. The last official census, in 2000, resulted in the loss of one of Oklahoma’s six congressional districts (at one time we had nine seats). The current pace of growth doesn’t figure to help us get that seat back, but it also doesn’t threaten us with the loss of another seat. In fact, Oklahoma’s growing at about the same rate as the nation as a whole. Only two states, Michigan and Rhode Island, lost population in the one-year comparison. It’s the ten-year comparison that matters. The next census and subsequent congressional redistricting starts in about a year.
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