2020 Census —population count launched this week —no immigration status questions will be asked
Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — With the actual population count, or the enumeration process, launched on Monday this week, Gov. Lolo Matalasi Moliga has urged every single person living in American Samoa — no matter your immigration status — to respond to the 2020 Census.
“Please support the 2020 Census of American Samoa by participating and answering the census questions,” the governor urged the community in an open public letter for support of 2020 Census addressed to all people of American Samoa.
Phase one of the American Samoa 2020 census, which is carried out every 10-years, was conducted Feb. 3rd, with the listing of all living quarters in the territory. And starting this past Monday evening, phase two of the census commenced with census field workers walking every village to conduct face-to-face interviews at each and every household identified under phase one.
“Do not be afraid to answer all census questions. Every person in every family and village must be count,” said the governor, who points out the census doesn’t asked about the person’s immigration status.
Despite the governor and Census officials for several weeks now telling the community that immigration status is not asked during the enumeration process, Samoa News still receives concerns raised by local residents regarding being asked about a person’s immigration status.
In the past few days since last Thursday evening, census officials reached out to the community through their media awareness campaign about the launching of phase two and again stressed that the census does not ask about a person’s immigration status.
Census officials urged the public to answer every single question, during the face-to-face interviews to ensure “accurate data” is collected.
Speaking on KVZK-TV, US Census Bureau Advisor to American Samoa, Jason Kopp explained that the census office “has completed all of our listing operation” under phase one and now comes the faced-to-face interview, with census workers visiting every village across in the territory.
“Through the next two months, we hope to be visiting every single one of you in collecting census data,” he said. “Please remember, how important this data is, how important it is to answer completely and accurately to every question, because this helps us to create accurate data for American Samoa to use for the next 10-years.”
“And this data is so important so we can get our fair share of federal funding,” he said and reminds the community that census keeps their information private under federal law and that no information provided by residents to the census “can ever identify you as an individual or can be used against you in anyway.”
“And just a reminder, we do not ask questions about immigration status. We also want everyone to know,” he said, noting that final training for enumerators was done last Saturday.
The current census count covers Tutuila and Aunu’u while population count in Manu’a will commence soon, with residents on the island group hired for phase two.
Samoa News joins the governor, ASG and Census officials in urging all residents to fully participate and answer questions on the census.