Census institute asks the uncounted to respond

Despite legions of teachers working a week to count the Costa Rica population, the census agency fears some residents here remain uncounted.

But all is not lost. The Instituto Nacional de Estadística y Censos wants those who have not been counted to initiate contact. The methods are many: Internet, email, postal mail, telephone and even Facebook.

The institute is shooting for an estimated 95 percent coverage. Officials said that they are well aware that they might miss some individuals.

The situation is more complex because the institute never planned to count everyone. The cutoff was those who have been in the country six months or who planned to be in the country six months. That eliminated traditional tourists and those with short-term jobs here. The cutoff also gave individuals an excuse if they did not want to be counted. They simply told census takers that they would not be here in six months.

The institute also noted that the 35,000 teachers who participated in the census mostly worked days. Those who are out of the home every day probably would not be counted if no one remained in the home. Night workers probably were sleeping when the teacher dropped by. Others simply wanted to duck the census for personal reasons.

Census workers also had an out if they thought an area was dangerous or hard to reach.

The census is based on dwelling units. First the structure itself was counted, and then the census takers took information on the persons living there. When they were done, most applied a small census sticker to the front part of the structure. A quickcheck in some city residential areas shows that some homes were skipped.

The census institute at least wants contact from those who were not counted so workers can make an estimate of how many were missed. In some cases, workers will be sent out to complete census forms.

Those who have been missed are asked to call 800-CENSO 2011 (800-23676 2011) to provide brief information for future contact. An email to  censo2011@inec.go.cr also is possible. The deadline on these self reports is Wednesday, the institute said.

Those persons who do not want to see a census representative can download a form HERE and complete it themselves. One version of the form is in English.

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