The U.S. Census for 2020 will end on September 30th. If Puerto Rico doesn’t step up, the early ending of the count could cost the Island billions in funding.
This is also the first real opportunity Puerto Rico has had to get accurate numbers since Hurricane Maria. That, scholars say, makes this the most important census Puerto Rico has ever had.
Effects on funding
At this point, just 32% of residents have responded to the Census. This is the lowest response rate for any jurisdiction being counted. More than 300 federal agencies use the information from the Census to distribute $1.5 trillion in federal funds. Puerto Rico already receives less than states, and an inaccurate total from the Census will decrease that funding even more.
The Puerto Rico Mayors Association estimates that Puerto Rico could lose $55 billion over the next decade if the population is undercounted.
The government currently estimates that there are 3.2 million people living in Puerto Rico. The Google Public Data Explorer estimates 3.194 million, and Worldometer is going with 2,849,477. The Census Bureau is also using a variety of data to adjust its recent estimates. An accurate Census will eliminate the uncertainty.
10,000 Census enumerators began visiting homes in Puerto Rico last month. The Census Bureau is hopeful that they will be able to reach 100% of residents by the September 30 deadline.
How you can help
Respond to the Census. You can go online to answer the questions, or you can call 844-418-2020 (English), or 844-426-2020 (Spanish).
If Census enumerators come to your home, welcome them and answer their questions.
Census data is also used to apportion the Members of Congress in the House of Representatives. The Senate has two senators for each state, but the number of Members each state has in the House depends on the population. Apportionment follows each Census. However, Puerto Rico, since it is a territory and not a state, has no senators and no voting Members in the House. The Island is represented by one Resident Commissioner.
Puerto Rico should have full representation and a full voice in American democracy. This can only happen through statehood. Let your representatives know that you want them to vote to admit Puerto Rico.