The Institute of Statistics of Puerto Rico warns that the low response of the population to prepare the new Census may translate for the island in the loss of nearly 50,000 million dollars in federal funds during the next decade, a drama for the local economy.
The president of the Board of Directors of the Institute of Statistics of Puerto Rico, the economist Nicolás Muñoz, told Efe this Thursday that local authorities have to react so that citizens fulfill their obligation to provide the information required by the Census, since the loss of economic funds could be decisive for the island's march.
Muñoz indicated that the situation is worrisome, since as of July 13, 25% fewer households had responded in Puerto Rich to the Census that a decade ago, in 2010, a percentage that places the island in a much lower position than other jurisdictions in the United States.
He said that if this trend continues cia, Puerto Rico would receive from the federal authorities 5,000 million dollars less annually, which means that during the next decade the Commonwealth would stop receiving nearly 50,000 million dollars.
Muñoz explained that the Census is fundamental, since that the data that is collected for its elaboration determines which is the population of a territory, in this case Puerto Rico, and based on the amount of population millionaire federal funds are distributed for all kinds of sectors.
"If the trend response of the population to the Census will continue as reflected by the data from July 13, the result would be that much less population lives on the island, which will translate into losses of millions of funds, "Muñoz highlighted.
Thousands of millions at stake
He said that it is essential that local authorities raise awareness among the citizens of the situation, since although many do not imagine there are billions of dollars at stake that they might not reach the island if the result of the Census is that hundreds of thousands of people live below the real figure in Puerto Rico.
"People see the form and are afraid of it," he assured, after insisting on that the mayors of the municipalities of Puerto Rico should be the ones to push and guide their neighbors to fill out the Census forms.
He said that it is happening that some people, directly, do not open the doors to census agents, individuals who in many cases they have difficulties filling out the census form through the internet, the other option.
"I myself have helped several of my neighbors to do it," he said as an example of something that anyone could do for those who by age Mainly, they are not able to do it through the Internet or they do not open the doors to Census agents, who, as he recalled, complete the process in just over 15 minutes.
In the United States, the population distributes seats
Regarding why in Puerto Rico the response to the census is much lower than the rest of the continental United States, he argued that one of the most important reasons is that the population of the US states is fundamental to distribute seats in the House of Representatives.
"In the United States, politicians move so that the Census is completed because they do not want to lose seats," he noted, after clarifying that this does not happen in Puerto Rico, which has a representative before Washington but without vote.
He also gave as an example to the island municipality of Culebra, where according to the last Census 1,800 people lived, very far from the more than 3,000 that inhabit it, which was not reflected by the neglect of many neighbors to register.
The Census has extended until August 15 the date to answer the forms and from that date those who have not answered or opened their doors will receive, again, the visit of agents.
Muñoz concluded noting that there are about 300 federal aid programs based on the Census and that without registration a lot of money is lost, which in the end damages, above all, the municipalities of the island, which is why the mayors must take the initiative to raise awareness among its citizens.