All CNMI residents are being encouraged to participate in the 2020 CNMI, and in all activities that will help raise awareness of it.
In designating April 1 as Census Day, similar to a national declaration, Gov. Ralph DLG Torres pointed out that more than $675 billion in federal funds is awarded annually to communities based on Census data.
“The data that is collected is crucial to the development of the most important aspect of our society. The 2020 Census is safe and easy to complete, and the Census Bureau protects all private information,” said Torres at the proclamation signing last Thursday.
The CNMI Census officially started their count, following the launch of its Enumeration Phase on March 1.
Over 200 Census enumerators are now going house-to-house, wearing red and with two official IDs, conducting interviews that last for 45minutes on the average, all the way until May 30, 2020.
“The job ahead is very, very important,” said Lt. Gov. Arnold I. Palacios. “The proclamation talks about resource allocations to small community like ours that [are] very critical for services we provide our community.”
Palacios stressed that it is important that the CNMI population be counted accurately, and that all the different nuances of the community be captured, adding that these will help the government drive in terms of policy and human resource allocation.
“We would know where schools are, or needs to be, we would know where public health facilities and other functions of public services in different parts of our community. …Further, island communities like ours really depend on investments, either outside, foreign investment, or even the domestic investments from the U.S. mainland.”
For residents who are worried about confidentiality, U.S. Census Bureau adviser Colleen Joyce said that all responses are confidential and protected by law.
Census employees took an oath and are sworn for life to protect everyone’s personal information, responses will never be shared with any immigration or law enforcement agencies, and will only be used to create statistics that would benefit the community.
“Responses shape decisions, federal funds are spent for schools, fire and emergency services, health care, veteran services, and many other types of services. Governments and business use census results to plan for new investments, services and jobs. We only get one chance every 10 years, or one shot to get this information to drive all of these decisions,” Joyce added.
All the information gathered will help shape the future of the CNMI community.
“I can’t express how important it is to get the right count for the CNMI because this census data is what will be referenced by government and businesses in policy and investments,” said Commerce Secretary Mark O. Rabauliman. “This whole process is not easy. I know we are on a time crunch but I also know we have the best team for this job. The goal for the 2020 census is to count every one once, only once and in the right place.”