The opening of the new census office along Beach Road yesterday marks the official onset of the decennial Census 2020, during which the CNMI demographic will be collected, including its population count.
The 2020 Census office, situated on third floor of the Ladera Building along Beach Road, Chalan Laulau, was opened for business yesterday and the occasion, according to U.S. Census Bureau representative and adviser to the CNMI Colleen Joyce, is one of the main goals embedded into the contract between the CNMI government and the U.S. Census Bureau.
“From this space, we will do the hard work of conducting the census. We have already started recruiting and hiring staff, and we will begin sharing with the public information on the 2020 Census of the CNMI,” she said.
Starting in early spring 2020, census staff will be sent out to collect demographic information on the residents of the CNMI, including social, economic, and housing characteristics of each resident.
This data collection phase, according to Joyce, would end in summer. Joyce would be working with CNMI Census office manager Claudio Norita.
U.S. Census Bureau assistant division chief Jennifer Kim, who will oversee census operations in all U.S. territories, noted that the opening the CNMI census office marks the halfway point of opening census offices in all five territories.
“Before this opening could happen, there were years of preparation,” she said, adding that the CNMI Department of Commerce, led by Secretary Mark Rabauliman, worked with the U.S. Census Bureau to make it happen.
“We began preparations earlier than…in previous censuses to ensure it is accurate, timely, and meaningful in the CNMI,” Kim noted in her speech.
U.S. Census Bureau senior advisor for decennial affairs James Treat assured a high quality census for the CNMI.
Acting governor Arnold I. Palacios noted the importance of the 2020 Census for the CNMI and how it could affect not only policies but the whole community.
“Federal programs that benefit the Marianas, including education, health, transportation, and public safety use census numbers as part of their funding formulas,” he said in his remarks. “But more than that, we also get a complete and accurate count of our closely-knit community.”
“I encourage everyone in the community to be a part of this process, fill out the forms, and be counted. This truly is a community effort,” he added.