In just a few weeks, the census takers will be out in the field knocking on your door and counting the number of people living in your home.
The information gathered is crucial for the island’s future because it helps determine the amount of federal aid Guam qualifies for in the years ahead.
It’s called the enumerations phase, that’s when the counting is done. It starts March 3rd and will last through May.
Census Office Manager Bernadine Gines gave island mayors a briefing at their meeting last week.
“The enumerators will go around neighborhoods and try and get each home. Whatever they’re respectively charged with. If a resident isn’t home, they’ll attempt to go there several times. They’ll leave a notice on their door or on their gate,” Gines said.
Census workers will be wearing bright yellow-colored vests that say ‘CENSUS 2020.’
They’ll be carrying black bags that say United States Census and they’ll have identification which you should ask to see. There is one issued by GovGuam and another issued by the U.S Census Bureau.
You may be asked to complete an individual census questionnaire if you live alone or a long family questionnaire.
The primary question, of course, is how many people live in your home.
However, other questions include the sex and age of the people in the household.
You’ll be asked where you were born and what level of education you have, your marital status, whether you are a food stamp recipient, whether you have health insurance, whether you have a disability, what your employment status is and what your race is. You are allowed to identify yourself with more than one race.
All of the information is kept strictly confidential said Gines, and violators face stiff penalties.
“If we reveal any information there is up to five years and up to $250,000 in fines,” Gines said.
The information gathered helps determine the amount of federal aid Guam will be eligible for in the years ahead, including federal funding for schools and roads hospitals as well as fire and police services.