While it’s difficult enough to count heads in a crowded room, determining the total population of an entire country is another matter entirely.
This year, the U.S. Census Bureau will conduct the 2020 Census – the 24th such survey since 1790. Counting every American is a big job, and the Census Bureau is currently hiring Calaveras County residents to help in the effort.
“It’s more than 3,000 (jobs) for Calaveras and surrounding counties,” U.S. Census Bureau Media Specialist Marna Davis said. “The jobs will last up to eight weeks, starting this spring.”
While many positions are available, only half of the employees needed in Calaveras County had been hired as of Monday.
“Hours are flexible, so these are perfect jobs for anyone with a job who wants extra money, students or retirees,” Davis said. “Census takers will primarily be responsible for following up with homes that did not previously respond to the 2020 Census online, by phone or by mail. Nonresponse follow up is an integral part of the 2020 Census program that ensures a complete and accurate count.”
Census takers in Calaveras County will be paid $18 per hour. Supervisory positions are also available, and start at $20 per hour. Applicants must be age 18 or older and have a Social Security number and a valid email address. Applications can be submitted online, and interviews and offers are made entirely over the phone. Those who successfully apply will be paid weekly and compensated at $0.58 per mile for fuel if they use their personal vehicles.
“There are supervisor and office positions available as well, but the majority of jobs are for census takers,” Davis said.
Census takers work in the field using electronic devices like smartphones and tablets provided by the Census Bureau to collect the data. Many positions require the ability to work on evenings and weekends.
“You have the opportunity to make several thousand dollars around your current work schedule, and it looks great on your resume,” Davis said. “And it gets you in the federal workforce pipeline.”
Most job offers will be made between January and April, and paid training for census takers lasts two weeks. The Census Bureau starts training census takers at the beginning of March and continues until mid-May. The actual work will take place from the middle of March to the end of June.
“Training is done primarily online,” Davis said. “Once you have accepted the position and you are sworn in and all of that, there may be some training at the Stockton area census office, but you will be reimbursed for mileage.”
The Census Bureau is hiring 500,000 census takers across the country for the nonresponse follow-up operation.
“We’re encouraging people who are bilingual to apply, because it’s important that we speak the languages that the community uses,” Davis said. “We’re looking for consistent, reliable people who care about shaping the future of their community.”
The U.S. Constitution calls for a census every 10 years. The count is conducted in all 50 states, the District of Columbia and the five U.S. territories of Puerto Rico, American Samoa, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, Guam and the U.S. Virgin Islands. The current count already began in mid-January in remote Alaska.
“The Census count influences how hundreds of billions of dollars are distributed each year,” Davis said. “Schools, roads, bridges, emergency response, hospitals, homeless services, senior services and other critical services in Calaveras County are tied to the Census population count.”
The number of seats allotted to each state in the U.S. House of Representatives is also determined by the count, as well as the drawing of congressional and state legislative district boundaries.
U.S. residents are required by law to take part in the census. Every home in the country will receive an invitation to participate by April 1, and people can respond online, over the phone or through the mail.
In December, the Census Bureau delivers the count to Congress, and redistricting counts will be sent to the states by March 31, 2021.
Those interested in becoming census takers or supervisors can apply at 2020census.gov/jobs. In order to be considered for a supervisory position, check the box for “supervisor” on the application.