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For Immediate Release: Tuesday, August 16, 2022

Census Bureau Releases Results of Post-Enumeration Survey for Puerto Rico From 2020 Census

Press Release Number CB22-CN.12

Post-Enumeration Survey Provides Insight into Population and Housing Counts in Puerto Rico

AUG. 16, 2022 — The U.S. Census Bureau today released estimates of net coverage error and components of coverage for Puerto Rico from the 2020 Post-Enumeration Survey (PES). These results provide insight into the quality of the 2020 Census counts for the population and housing units in Puerto Rico.

“The release of coverage estimates for Puerto Rico represents a final piece in completing our comprehensive assessments from the 2020 Post-Enumeration Survey,” Census Bureau Director Robert L. Santos said. “This is one of many self-assessments that allow us to think critically about how we transform our operations and plan for the 2030 Census.”

The PES was used to develop independent estimates of the number of people and housing units in the United States and Puerto Rico on April 1, 2020. These estimates were compared to 2020 Census counts to explore the strengths and limitations of the data and to inform plans to improve the 2030 Census.

Puerto Rico is the largest and most populous U.S. territory and was treated as a separate governmental entity. As such, the sample was designed up front to allow for subpopulation estimates of coverage.  

Key PES findings for the population count in Puerto Rico:

  • According to the PES, the 2020 Census overcounted the Puerto Rico population by 5.7% or 174,000 people. This was not statistically different from the 4.5% overcount in the 2010 Census.
  • The estimated rate of erroneous enumerations in the 2020 Census was 9.8% or 319,000.  This includes an estimated 9.1% or 294,000 duplicate records.
  • The PES estimated an overcount of people in owned housing units by 8.6%. Renters did not have a statistically significant undercount or overcount.
  • The PES estimated overcounts of the population for ages 30 to 49 years old by 3.6% and ages 50 years and older by 9.7%. The estimated net coverage error rates for the remaining age groups, including children, were not statistically significant.
  • Adult males (5.7%) and females (7.3%) were statistically significantly overcounted in the 2020 Census.
  • The PES estimated statistical overcounts for 2020 Census counts of females ages 30 to 49 years (4.9%) and females 50 years and over (11.0%), as well as males 50 years and over (8.3%).
  • The PES estimated overcounts in the San Juan-Bayamón, PR Combined Statistical Area and in the rest of Puerto Rico.
  • Because of the demographics in Puerto Rico, coverage estimates are not computed by race and Hispanic origin.

Key PES findings for housing units in Puerto Rico:

  • The PES did not estimate a statistically significant undercount or overcount of housing units in the 2020 Census in Puerto Rico. The 2010 Census also did not have a statistically significant net coverage error.
  • The 2020 Census undercounted the number of vacant housing units in Puerto Rico by 5.8%. There was no statistically significant overcount or undercount for occupied housing units.

“Understanding the devastation caused by Hurricane Maria, we adapted our operational design to count Puerto Rico as we prepared for the 2020 Census,” Santos said. “We will continue to collaborate closely with key stakeholders in Puerto Rico to work toward an accurate count for future censuses.”

The Census Bureau today also released estimates of net coverage error and components of coverage for housing units for the nation, regions and states.

Earlier this year, the Census Bureau released national-level results along with additional results from the Demographic Analysis (DA). They showed the strength of the total U.S. population count and that coverage varied by demographic groups such as race and Hispanic origin, as well as by age groups and sex.

The Census Bureau also released earlier this year coverage estimates for people by state and the District of Columbia from the PES.

Update Leave operation

The Census Bureau’s Update Leave operation was of particular importance in Puerto Rico because of the impact of Hurricane Maria. As part of this effort, census workers visited housing units without mailable addresses and left blank census forms and other information to encourage public participation in the 2020 Census.

“These results provide valuable insights that can inform and motivate numerous innovations and operations used in the 2020 Census. Furthermore, work remains for the 2020 Census. We’re not done yet. There are still large data products forthcoming that show the rich diversity of the American people,” Santos said. “As part of the transformation process, we’re taking a fresh look at who we are and looking at ways to engage with the public and stakeholders to get input on designing the 2030 Census – one of many efforts underway to learn how we, the Census Bureau, can contribute more relevant data to the nation.”

In addition to the Census Coverage Estimates for Puerto Rico and the Census Coverage Estimates for Housing Units in the United States reports, the Census Bureau also released the Source and Accuracy of 2020 Post-Enumeration Survey Housing Unit Estimates



Kristina Barrett
Public Information Office
301-763-3030 or
877-861-2010 (U.S. and Canada only)


Page Last Revised - April 3, 2023
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