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Census Data Shows Oklahoma Has Become Less White, More Urban

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OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — Like much of the country, Oklahoma is less white and more urban and suburban than it was 10 years ago, according to data released Thursday by the U.S. Census Bureau.

The percentage of people in Oklahoma who identify as white alone, not Hispanic or Latino, dropped from 68.7% in 2010 to 60.8% in 2020, while those who identify as Hispanic or Latino jumped from 8.9% to 11.9% during the same time period and remained the second-largest racial or ethnic group in the state.

The third largest racial group in Oklahoma is now those who identify as two or more races, but not Hispanic or Latino, which represents 9.4% of Oklahomans

Overall, Oklahoma’s population increased from 3.75 million in 2010 to 3.95 million in 2020, although the growth was not enough to gain an sixth congressional seat.

The numbers released on Thursday will be used by state lawmakers to redraw Oklahoma’s five congressional districts, all of which are currently held by Republicans. The Legislature is expected to convene a special session in the fall to approve the new districts.

Continuing a trend that’s been taking place for several decades, Oklahoma’s population is continuing to shift from rural communities to urban and suburban areas.

Canadian County, just east of Oklahoma City, was the fastest growing county in Oklahoma, jumping from 115,541 people in 2010 to 154,405 in 2020, an increase of more than 30%. The percentage of people who identify as white in Canadian County dropped from nearly 80% in 2010 to 70% in 2020, while the percentage who identify as Hispanic or Latino increased from 6.7% to 10.6% during the same time period. The next five fastest growing counties were McClain (20.7% increase), Logan (18.4%), Cleveland (15.6%), Tulsa (10.9%) and Oklahoma (10.8%).

Counties that lost population were scattered throughout rural Oklahoma, with Blaine County in western Oklahoma losing nearly 27% of its population from 2010 to 2020.

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