The U.S. Census Bureau is looking for 16,000 people in Northern Middle Tennessee, and 58,000 statewide, to apply to conduct the 2020 Census. It is often described as the nation’s largest civilian mobilization, but our economy has made finding willing workers a challenge.
To drive more applications, the Census has increased pay in some counties. Census-taker hourly pay rates in Davidson County, for instance, will increase from $21 an hour to $23.50 for enumerators, and up to $26 an hour for supervisors effective in January. Wilson County increases from $15 to $16.50 an hour, Maury County increases from $14 to $18 an hour and Sumner County census takers will get a $2 bump to $17 an hour. Williamson County will see the greatest increase, going from $21 to $26 per hour for enumerators, and up to $28.50 an hour for supervisors.
“Like many employers across the nation, the Census Bureau is competing for workers in a tight labor market,” said Michelle Archer, assistant Census regional manager. “In an effort to make census jobs more competitive in this economy, we recently increased the pay rate for many counties in Tennessee. It is essential that we are able to hire enough people to ensure a complete count in the 2020 Census. Counting everyone is a very big job and requires many hands to make light work.”
The Census Bureau uses data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages to derive individual pay rates for each county. Across Tennessee, most census jobs pay between $14 and $23 per hour and are paid weekly. All census workers also receive paid training and mileage reimbursement of $.58 cents per mile. Pay rates for different locations can be found at 2020census.gov/jobs/pay-and-locations.
“Our challenge right now is to get the message out that this work is short-term, and very flexible, and it pays well,” said Archer. “Working for the census is something that people can easily do in addition to their other employment and responsibilities, and there is no big commitment.”
Census recruiters say: “Working for the 2020 Census is more than an opportunity earn some extra cash after the holidays, it’s a chance to help shape your community over the next ten years. The results of the 2020 Census will help determine our state’s representation in Congress, as well as how certain funds are spent for schools, hospitals, roads, and more. This is your chance to play a part in history and help ensure that everyone in your community is counted.”
Applicants can qualify for both field and office positions. Field staff such as census takers and supervisors will work right in their communities interviewing households that have not responded to the census online, by phone, or in writing. Most will travel to neighborhoods assigned on the day and time they are available including days, evenings and weekends.
The office positions, which are more limited, will be located in area census offices. The role of these offices is to recruit, select, hire, train, manage, and pay all office and field staff that work within the designated boundaries of the geographic territory assigned to the office.
The bulk of hiring will take place January through April with some jobs beginning in February and others will go from March through July depending on the workload in a given area. Beginning soon, census takers will work to collect information from group living facilities such as nursing homes and dorms.
In the spring of 2020, the Census Bureau will launch the largest 2020 Census field operation, known as Nonresponse Follow-up, Census Takers will knock on doors to follow up with households who have not responded to the census questionnaire. Most positions are anticipated to last eight weeks, but employment may end at any time or hours of work may be reduced if there is a lack of available work.
To be eligible for a 2020 Census job, you must:
- Be at least 18 years old.
- Have a valid Social Security number.
- Be a U.S. citizen.
- Have a valid email address.
- Pass a Census-performed criminal background check, including fingerprinting.
- Commit to completing paid training.
Most field jobs require employees to have access to a vehicle and a valid driver’s license, unless public transportation is available, and have access to a computer with internet and an email account to complete training.