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The U.S. Census Bureau has begun mailing informational booklets to Puerto Rico government officials asking for their assistance in providing updated addresses for their communities, part of an early, concerted effort to make the 2010 Census as accurate as possible.
A complete address list is needed to accurately count each person living in the United States — including Puerto Rico.
The Census Bureau has a constitutional mandate to count everyone living in the United States and Puerto Rico once, and count them in the right place,” said Preston Jay Waite, the Census Bureau's deputy director. "Developing an accurate and up-to-date Master Address File is the first and most vital stage of the decennial census process, ensuring that people residing at the addresses listed in the file will receive a census questionnaire in 2010."
In partnership with the Census Bureau, Puerto Rico officials will use their local knowledge to improve the list of addresses for housing units and group-quarters addresses, including growth as a result of new construction or annexation.
The information contained in the address list is confidential by law. Those who choose to participate in the Local Update of Census Addresses (LUCA) program will then be provided an option to review the Census Bureau’s address list. If they choose to participate, they must take an oath to protect the information they review. Like all census employees, those who review and update a confidential address list are subject to a jail term, a fine or both if they disclose any protected information.
The Census Bureau will use the updated address list to deliver the census questionnaires and ensure a successful 2010 Census, the largest peacetime operation the federal government undertakes.
"The Commonwealth of Puerto Rico has a changing and diverse population," said Waite. "Participation in the LUCA program will ensure all residents of Puerto Rico are accurately counted in the 2010 Census"
The 2010 Census will have one of the shortest questionnaires in the history of the United States. Asking approximately seven questions of all residents, the questionnaire will take most households about 10 minutes to complete and will result in a simpler, less costly and more accurate census.
The Census Bureau also is embracing new technology to count the growing and changing population by using hand-held computers for data collection in the 2010 Census. These secure devices will be used to update address lists and conduct follow-up interviews with people who do not complete and return a census questionnaire by mail.
For more information, visit the 2010 Census LUCA program at <http://www.census.gov/geo/www/luca2010/luca.html>