Puerto Rico Gov. Wanda Vázquez urged Puerto Ricans to respond to the 2020 Census in an effort to increase participation and adequate headcount of residents on the island, where just 22% of residents have responded to the questionnaire.
Puerto Rico currently has one of the lowest census response rates in the U.S. amid the coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic.
“As we continue to combat COVID-19 and move forward with the reopening of our economy, it is important that we focus on responding to the 2020 Census,” Vázquez said.
“While we understand the hesitation to interact with individuals outside the family nucleus and continue observing proper social distancing measures, we must not forget that Puerto Rico needs to be represented in the Census,” she said.
“I strongly urge the people of Puerto Rico that currently call the island home to fill the questionnaire to ensure everyone is accounted for. As the governor of Puerto Rico, it is my responsibility to ensure that our people have accurate representation in the U.S. Census,” Vázquez added.
As the island continues to follow CDC guidelines to reopen the economy safely, the U.S. Census Bureau has also resumed operations and since May 22, 2020, is again leaving questionnaire forms outside front doors of residences.
In the aftermath of the 2017 hurricanes, the U.S. Census Bureau decided to hand-deliver questionnaires instead of mailing them to residences to ensure accurate headcount amid the island’s recovery efforts.
However, after the recent earthquakes affected the island and the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic hit Puerto Rico, the island’s response rate has been stalled with a 22% reporting level, the governor said.
“Over the past decade, we’ve faced many challenges. The fiscal and economic crisis, the impact of hurricanes and earthquakes, and now the coronavirus are just some examples. Responding to the 2020 Census is crucial to ensure Puerto Rico receives the necessary federal resources to address these emergencies and continue our recovery process,” said Puerto Rico’s Resident Commissioner Jenniffer González.
“The information gathered through the Census also helps determine how we in Congress allocate billions of dollars in federal funding each year to meet the needs of our citizens and communities,” González said.
“This is why I continue to I urge everyone in Puerto Rico to fill out the Census as soon as possible. The future and wellbeing of our island depends on it,” she said.
“By now the majority of Puerto Rico households have been invited to participate to the 2020 Census. I strongly encourage everyone in Puerto Rico to respond to the 2020 Census online, by phone or mail as soon as possible,” said U.S. Census Bureau Director Steven Dillingham.
“Your response helps shape decisions about distribution of funds for public services such as schools, emergency response and health care in your community. Responding is safe and your information is protected by law,” he said.