The Puerto Rico Statistics Institute will be taking over the task of conducting census and survey activities in Puerto Rico, following the signing of an agreement with the U.S. Census Bureau and the U.S. Department of Commerce, the local agency’s Executive Director Mario Marazzi said Wednesday.
For nearly 50 years, the Puerto Rico Planning Board had the responsibility for doing the work. But on Nov. 20, 2014, Gov. Alejandro García-Padilla signed the memorandum of understanding that established the new framework, Marazzi said.
“I appreciate the trust the governor of Puerto Rico and the U.S. Census Bureau have placed on the Statistics Institute team with the signing of this agreement we’ve made public today,” Marazzi said, of the agreement in effect through Dec. 31, 2024. “We see it as recognition of our team who works and always seeks that Puerto Rico have the most reliable and universally accessible statistics.”
In recent years, the Statistics Institute has taken on new responsibilities with regards to the work done by the U.S. Census Bureau, namely tasks associated with the State Data Center and the Federal State Cooperative on Population Estimates.
Among its new responsibilities, the Statistics Institute will from now on conduct the Puerto Rico Community Survey and the Puerto Rico Census 2020, in cooperation with the U.S. Census Bureau, said Marazzi.
For the surveys, the Statistics Institute will be cooperating with the U.S. Census Bureau to: Get the word out among Puerto Rico residents that they are underway; Provide assistance in gathering information to plan the field work required locally, such as address and phone number lists; Assist in the collection of maps, certify information on limits and the proper designation of statistical areas; Participate in planning of presentations and publications; and provide assistance to identify potential candidates for the field work necessary to gather data.
During the meeting with the media, Marazzi said it is too early to tell how much the Statistics Institute will need in terms of budget and personnel for the work required for the 2020 Census, which he said will be different from the 2010 edition.
“The Institute is preparing, but the census studies change from decade to decade. There’s new technology and methodologies now that we’re going to use,” he said. “Right now we don’t have all of the resources and we’ll be seeking out resources through different forums, including the central and municipal governments, as well as the private sector.”
As a result of the agreement, Puerto Rico will be included for the first time in a run-through that the U.S. Census Bureau will conduct in September of this year in preparation for the 2020 survey, consisting of testing the compilation of data through regular and electronic mail.
“This will allow the U.S. Census to have information on Puerto Rico’s rate of return through those methods and will help to better plan the 2020 census,” Marazzi said.
For now, it is not clear if the Statistics Institute will be asked to take part in producing the questions used for the Puerto Rico census, he said.
Planning Board will share Census work
While the Statistics Institute will be conducting work for the two mentioned surveys, the Puerto Rico Planning Board said Wednesday it will continue collaborating with the federal agency.
The Planning Board will continue its work on the 2017 Economic Census and the Electoral Redistricting that includes establishing districts and demographic analysis, and other functions the federal agency delegates, Planning Board President Luis García-Pelatti said in a statement.
The agency he heads is also responsible for working with the Puerto Rico Demographic Challenge Law. He also noted that despite the lack of resources since 2012, the agency has fulfilled its obligations and responsibilities to the U.S. Bureau.