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2022 Economic Census in The Island Areas

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The Economic Census is the official five-year measure of American businesses and the economy. Data provided by businesses fuel the most comprehensive economic statistics available, representing all geographies and non-agricultural U.S. industries. 

As part of this census, the Census Bureau collects data in the U.S. Virgin Islands, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI), Guam, American Samoa and Puerto Rico (collectively referred to as the Island Areas).

While the Economic Census in these areas is very similar to the stateside Economic Census, there are a few notable differences. First, the Census Bureau invites all Island Area businesses to participate, not just a sampling of businesses like we do for stateside businesses.  

The Island Areas collection includes questions on characteristics of majority ownership for the business, including ethnicity (Hispanic/Non-Hispanic status), race, citizenship, and gender that are not requested on stateside questionnaires.

Additionally, while most stateside businesses are asked to respond online, the Census Bureau makes paper forms available (in English and Spanish) for respondents since we recognize that reporting online is not often the best way for businesses on the island to respond. We also have Spanish communications available including a new webpage available in Spanish and an interactive phone system that features Spanish menu options. And lastly, we have Spanish-speaking operators at all our call centers to answer any questions and provide clerical assistance. 

The Economic Census serves as part of the economic framework for essential information such as the number of establishments, payroll, employment and industry-specific statistics like sales, value of shipments and revenue. This information provides data that governments, businesses and local organizations rely on to make informed economic, policy and program decisions.

My Trip to Puerto Rico

Last month, a contingent of staff from the Census Bureau joined the Deputy Secretary of Commerce and Puerto Rico Economic Growth Coordinator Don Graves in Puerto Rico. We’d like to thank the stakeholders and businesses across multiple industries who we had the privilege of meeting with. Among them: the Foundation for Puerto Rico; Colmena66; the Puerto Rico Chamber of Commerce; the University of Puerto Rico; the Puerto Rico Department of Economic Development and Commerce; the Puerto Rico Institute of Statistics; the Puerto Rico Department of Labor and Human Resources; and the Puerto Rico Planning Board.   

This was an excellent opportunity to hear directly from key stakeholders and businesses on how economic census data will benefit their efforts and how they can help raise awareness about the census and encourage businesses to respond. This was also a chance to reinforce our commitment to working closely with Puerto Rico governmental agencies, nonprofit groups, universities and businesses on the importance of more timely, detailed, and higher-quality economic data.

During our trip, we were proud to showcase our first-ever Quarterly Workforce Indicators for Puerto Rico. These new data provide rich demographic profiles of the island’s employment and also includes labor market data by worker age, sex and race and ethnicity.

Potential opportunities for collaboration and data sharing were highlighted in Puerto Rico, including a partnership between the Census Bureau and the University of Puerto Rico to help build statistical skillsets and capacity, as well as establishing Puerto Rico’s first Research Data Center.

We look forward to continuing our efforts in supporting the people and businesses of Puerto Rico and helping them better understand the economic conditions as well as the importance of creating and maintaining accurate geospatial data such as addresses, boundaries, and features in standardized formats.

Page Last Revised - March 21, 2023
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