Census worker

The U.S. Census Bureau is stepping up efforts to recruit census takers in Tuolumne and Calaveras counties, which are behind many others in California at meeting the agency’s recruiting goals for the 2020 survey.

Tuolumne County had met about 51.5 percent of the bureau’s recruitment goal as of last week, while Calaveras County was at 50.7 percent. Forty of the 58 counties in the state had achieved at least 60 percent of the goal.

 “There’s still time to fill all these jobs,” said Marna Davis, a Northern California spokeswoman for the federal agency. “It’s just a matter of getting the word out there.”

The bureau is offering $18 an hour for census takers in Tuolumne and Calaveras counties, who will be following up with households that have not responded to the survey online, over the phone, or by mail.

Davis said the job lasts about six to eight weeks and includes flexible hours, paid training, and reimbursement for use of a personal vehicle at 58 cents a mile.

“It’s a great job for students with afternoons and evenings available, as well as people with a job who want to make some extra money while helping your community,” she said.

The goal is to ensure that all residents are accurately counted in the decennial census, which has been conducted throughout the country every 10 years since 1790 as required by the U.S. Constitution.

The numbers are used to make sure that federal funding is appropriated correctly to areas for critical services, such as roads, bridges, schools, senior and homeless aid, emergency response, and hospitals.

“Every service that makes a community thrive is dependent on making sure every person gets counted,” she said.

Census data is also used to draw political districts that determine representation in U.S. Congress, by businesses and chambers of commerce to determine what kind businesses an area needs, and by schools to forecast future class sizes and needs.

Households will begin receiving postcards in mid-March inviting them to respond to the 2020 survey by phone, online, or by mail. Census Day is April 1 and follow-up efforts by census takers begin in May, according to Davis.

People must be 18 or older to apply, which can be done online through the bureau’s website. They will then be interviewed by telephone and scheduled for training if selected.

Census takers are required to pass a federal background check and swear a lifetime oath of confidentiality that’s punishable by up to 5 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

 

Contact Alex MacLean at amaclean@uniondemocrat.com or (209) 588-4530.

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