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The Newcastle Census

Decades of Progress

Published: Friday, September 18, 2020

If you’re a resident of Newcastle, you might have heard people talking about the 2020 Census a bit lately. You may even wonder why it matters so much to some folks whether you fill it out or not. The answer might be in how data from the Census helps our community stay strong and vital. Communities start with people, so let’s look at one of Newcastle’s longtime residents.

For Sharon (Mason) Ferguson, Newcastle is a home with deep roots in her heart. The Masons first moved to the farming community of Newcastle back in 1949, when Sharon was only 5 years old. She remembers walking to school on dirt roads with ruts sometimes a foot deep and local high school boys serving as school bus drivers.

“If you misbehaved, they’d let you off right there and you’d walk home,” Sharon explained.

Her siblings all graduated from Newcastle High School, but her parents moved to Oklahoma City by 1960 leaving her unable to graduate here. But many of her friends and family were still in Newcastle. Of course, heading to Oklahoma City in those days meant crossing the 2-lane bridge built in 1922.

“You’d meet a semi-truck on that thing and it’d shake like crazy; just scare you to death,” she recalled. “You’d see those trucks scraping the side of the bridge. The lanes were just wood, covered with tar and gravel.”

While World War II broadened everyone’s view of the world, by the 1950s this made Newcastle seem too small for youngsters looking at the bright lights of city life. As the population dwindled, Jim Carr created the first housing addition in Newcastle to increase the number of school-aged children. Other developments followed in the years ahead.

Sharon married and moved back to Newcastle in 1979. By then, the newest residents of Newcastle were making their community great. After a 50-year break, Racer Football came back in 1972; new businesses opened, and new clubs formed, like the Ladies Home Extension Club.

Enhanced 9-1-1 came to town in 1989, allowing people to get help faster and more efficiently.

So, how does Sharon’s story relate to the Census? Its more about how the Census is a part of everyone’s story in Newcastle.

According to the Census Bureau, more than $650 billion of federal funds are distributed using Census Bureau data. Hundreds of federal programs, including Medicare, Pell Grants, School Lunches, Housing, Local Education, Vocational Rehab, Crime Victim Assistance, Teacher Improvement, Firefighting Grants, Elderly Housing, Historic Preservation, Hunter Education, Highway Planning, and more all depend on accurate information from the US Census.

New bridges, new schools, better public safety, healthy children and mothers, great teachers, and more are all affected by your census response. When leaders have access to solid Census data, it improves decision making and the impact that federal funds have.

Sharon Ferguson now has 3 children and 4 grandchildren. And they’ve all been a strong part of the community here, in a town that has become a small city. And that city is growing, just like it always has. Every Census shows how our families have put down roots and prepare to make their own stories. 

Over 3,000 residents of Newcastle haven’t been counted. Over a ten-year period, that’s a potential $16,750 per person. That’s over $50 million in community funding for schools, highways, health, and more. Please fill yours out TODAY online, by phone, or even at our local Newcastle library. Go to 2020census.gov for more information.

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