The responses of the residents of Puerto Rico to the questionnaire of the Census 2020 increased with the delivery, house by house, of the forms, but it is still far from the levels recorded ten years ago when more than 50 % of the inhabitants of the island voluntarily sent their answers without the intervention of the enumerators of the federal agency.
According to Giselle Laffitte, spokeswoman for the 10-year census in Puerto Rico, the response rate registered for the island is currently around 23% of homes. This is almost three times the 8% registered at the end of May, but it is still far from the experience during the previous census with the voluntary submission of data, which was done only by mail. This time, in addition to the mail, people can fill out the form by phone or online.
“The response increased because we already delivered the questionnaires house to house. Obviously, we need people to not let this moment pass and fill out the form. We already have a 23% (response rate) and we need it to be more than 90% ”Laffitte told El Nuevo Día.
The federal official indicated that by July 30 the Census enumerators will begin to visit
each of the residences that are presumed to be inhabited and that have not provided the basic information of their inhabitants.
The information that the enumerators request includes the number of people living in the residence, sex, date of birth , race, type of residence, origin of the person. No information is requested on citizenship or the legality of the immigration status. The Census seeks to obtain information on each of the households, regardless of their origin or if the residents are legally on the island. The officers of the agency, by law, cannot disclose any information about the individuals registered.
“Already at the end of July the enumerators will return, house by house, and this time they do have to contact the resident. The enumerator has to collect that information by law and it is important that they do so to ensure the economic benefits of Puerto Rico. If people do not want to be visited at home by the pandemic, this is the ideal time for them to answer the questionnaire and avoid someone knocking on the door "said Laffitte.
The official explained that the population information that The 10-year census compiles are used by the federal government to allocate funds for the development of community infrastructure such as schools, hospitals, highways, and to provide financial assistance to social and charitable initiatives. If the country's population is underrepresented in the 10-year census, the island could receive less money than it needs.
Similarly, the information is also used by private companies and non-profit entities to prepare their business plans. or job proposals, respectively.
“If you want a better economic future, the first thing you have to do as a resident is answer the census questionnaire. That is the first step for a better economy to come. If we do not answer the questionnaire, everyone's future could be affected, "said the official.