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Last Call on the 2020 Decennial Census

The 2020 decennial census is under threat and Puerto Ricans, other Hispanics, and minorities in general will be negatively affected. We will be negatively affected because we will be undercounted. By not being counted fully, accurately and precisely, we and the towns and cities we live in will lose political power, social and political visibility, and governmental resources. The importance of the decennials census resides on the fact that it is the onlyofficial count of the population that is used exclusively by the government to make some of the most important decisions about political power—how seats in the U.S. House of Representatives are allocated)—and how federal funding is distributed to the states, counties and municipalities around the country.

We, at the Centro de Estudios Puertorriqueños, also need a full, accurate and precise count of the populations in general and of Puerto Ricans in particular. We rely on all data from the U.S. Census Bureau to produce most of our reports, papers, and analysis. Without full, accurate and precise information from the Census Bureau, we cannot do our job well and we cannot produce the high-quality work you have come to rely on.

The primary reason why we Puerto Ricans are undercounted is because WE do not respond to the decennial census questionnaire. The questionnaire arrives by mail to most of our homes. When we do not respond to the census questionnaire, the Census Bureau then needs to dispatch personnel to knock on our doors and solicit the information directly from us. 

The second immediate threat to the decennial census is the recent decision by the director of the Census Bureau to end field operations by September 30, 2020, when originally he had requested an extension until October 31, 2020, in response to COVID-19 disruption in operations. This recent decision threatens the decennial census by shortening the time the Census Bureau has to collect questionnaires that were not returned by mail originally.

To address these threats, we are reaching out to you for you to take action:

  1.  If you have responded to the census, thank you. But, please, do one more thing: talk to your friends, families, acquaintances, people in your circles —your networks— about the importance of responding to the decennial census form. 
  2. If you haven’t filled it out yet, please do so now. It is short. It is quick. It is confidential. If the form is a lying around your home, please fill it in and mail it back. If you never received it for whatever reason, go https://my2020census.govand answer the questionnaire online. (También lo puede llenar en español.) You could also call 844-330-2020 (ó 844-468-2020, en español).
  3.  Contact your U.S. Senator and convey the following information: I am contacting you to insist that you tell Senate Majority Leader McConnell and Minority Leader Schumer to include language that would authorize a four-month extension of the 2020 Census statutory deadlines in the COVID relief package that is currently being negotiated. The House of Representatives already included this language in its latest COVID relief package. A census that is cut short undermines the integrity of data used to allocate federal funds, apportion Congressional representation, and benchmark the nation’s statistical infrastructure. The Senate must act now to ensure that the 2020 Census is fair, inclusive, complete, and accurate.

We hope that these actions will result in a decennial census that reflects accurately and precisely all of the population in the United States.

If you need additional information, click https://www.cuny.edu/academics/current-initiatives/cuny-census/

Let’s be counted!