Interior applauds Census for opening offices in territories

Posted on Nov 28 2019

WASHINGTON, D.C.—The U.S. Department of the Interior congratulates the U.S. Census Bureau for recently opening census offices in American Samoa, Guam, the CNMI, and the U.S. Virgin Islands in preparation for the upcoming 2020 Island Areas Censuses.

“I am pleased that the U.S. Census Bureau has taken this positive, proactive stance to support and strengthen the 2020 Census operation for the U.S. territories,” said Doug Domenech, assistant secretary for Insular and International Affairs. “We believe that Census’ close work with each of the territories will ensure accurate, and timely results for our fellow Americans in the territories. I look forward to robust results and encourage all to be counted in the upcoming 2020 Census.”

Dr. Jennifer Kim, the Census Bureau’s assistant division chief, who is overseeing the 2020 Island Areas Censuses, said the opening of the five Island Areas census offices “demonstrates our commitment to ensure that the census is accurate, timely, and meaningful for the Island Areas.”

The U.S. Constitution mandates that a census of the nation’s population be taken every 10 years. Title 13 of the U.S. Code authorizes the Secretary of Commerce (delegated to the Director of the U.S. Census Bureau) to undertake the decennial census. The geographic scope of the decennial census is specified in Title 13 U.S.C., Section 191 as covering the 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the CNMI, Guam, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and “as may be determined by the Secretary, such other possessions and areas over which the United States exercises jurisdiction, control, or sovereignty.” Operating under the latter authority of the Secretary, Census included an office for American Samoa.

The 2020 Island Areas Censuses will collect demographic, social, economic, and housing characteristics of American Samoa, Guam, the CNMI, and the USVI. Census has worked closely with each of the territory governments to finalize the content of the questions and to provide the maximum public utility with minimum individual burden. The 2020 Census subjects were submitted to Congress in March 2017 and the 2020 Census questions were submitted to Congress in March 2018 with correspondences sent to the congressional delegates of each territory.

Outreach efforts by the Census offices to encourage participation in each territory will begin in early 2020. For general information on the upcoming 2020 Census, visit For information in the territories, reach out to your local Census office in each territory. (PR)

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