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U.S. Census looking for counters

Mike Still • Nov 19, 2019 at 8:30 PM

NORTON — U.S. Census counts begin across Virginia in March, and Census Bureau officials are still looking for employees to help get an accurate population count for the 2020 Census.

Ronald Brown is the Virginia and West Virginia Partnership Coordinator for Census Bureau efforts, and he says there is no shortage of jobs for people looking for work as a census enumerator leading up to April 1 — the official Census Day.

“We are doing major recruiting for enumerators right now,” Brown said on Monday. “We are competing with a current unemployment rate at its lowest in years, plus we are competing with big-box stores and the retail sector hiring for the holidays.”

While Census forms are mailed to households across the United States, Brown said enumerators help find people and households who may not receive those forms or return them. That means a lot of footwork and finding all residents to ensure an accurate count of the U.S. population.

“We’re not seeing as many people as we’d like applying for these positions,” Brown said. “There are lots of openings, even if you’re looking for part-time or evening work. We’re also looking for college students.”

Much of the enumerators’ work will happen in mid-April, as they work on counting people who did not send their census forms. Eligibility requirements to apply include being 18 or older, having a valid Social Security number and being a U.S. citizen.

Brown said people can expect to see more public announcements about the Census process through local government bodies, community organizations, schools and colleges in the weeks leading up to Census Day.

Besides doing door-to-door counts, Census workers will also be available at public libraries to help residents fill out census forms, Brown said.

People interested in applying for Census jobs can visit www.2020census.gov/jobs to apply online, or they can attend a regional town hall and job fair in Abingdon on Wednesday, Nov. 20, at People Incorporated, 1173 W. Main St., from 3:30 – 5:30 p.m.

Brown said the Census Bureau is also working in Virginia with the Virginia Complete Count Commission to educate the public about the importance of an accurate population count. Census results affect a range of matters for localities and states, including redistricting of congressional and state legislative districts and allocation of federal funding for roads, schools and hospitals.

Census data is also used by the private sector to evaluate where to locate new businesses or for economic development purposes.

Brown said that residents will get more information starting in mid-January about how to verify if a Census taker is a legitimate employee.

“There will be a toll-free phone number for confirming Census workers, and local law enforcement will be made aware of workers,” Brown said.

For more information on the 2020 Census, visit the federal Census website at www.2020census.gov or the Virginia Complete Count Commission website at www.commonwealth.virginia.gov/advisory-boards/virginia-complete-count-commission.

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