The 2020 U.S. census count will happen on April 1, 2020, and the federal government is still looking to hire thousands of temporary workers.

A census worker in Bernalillo County will receive a pay rate of $16 to $17.50 per hour with checks disbursed weekly, according to the Census 2020 website, 

Jobs for the 2020 census include both field and office positions. A single application allows you to be considered for several positions, including census taker, census field supervisor, recruiting assistant, office clerk or office staff supervisor.



University of New Mexico sociology professor Nancy Lopez told the Daily Lobo that students should apply to be census takers to “be part of history (and) shape the future,” adding that “your work will impact generations to come.”

“Generally, hours for field positions are flexible. Some field positions require you to work during the day so you can see addresses on buildings. Other field positions require you to interview members of the public, so you must be available to work evenings and weekends when people are usually at home. Supervisory positions require employees to be available for a certain day, evening, and/or weekend shifts,” said the census website.

If you would rather stay at the office and have a regular schedule, there are also administrative positions open.

In mid-March, every home in the United States will be mailed an invitation to participate in the U.S. census. Once the invitation arrives, every resident will be encouraged to respond in one of three ways: online, by phone or by mail. When residents respond to the census, they tell the Census Bureau where they reside as of April 1, 2020. 

According to the Census Bureau’s website, census takers will count people experiencing homelessness on March 30 and April 1. In May and July, they will begin visiting the homes that haven't responded by internet, phone, or email to help make sure everyone is counted.

Most census positions are anticipated to last several weeks, but employment may end at any time. Additionally, hours of work may be reduced as counts are completed.

By December, after as many of the stragglers as possible have been found and counted, the Census Bureau will deliver it’s counts to the U.S. President and Congress. 

Census data is used to determine the number of representatives each state sends to Congress. While New Mexico is not expected to change the number of representatives in its congressional delegation in this census cycle, the state, counties and local municipalities will use the census data to draw election district boundaries.

According to the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities' website, “the census impacts congressional representation as well as federal funding for programs addressing student financial need, school safety and mental health services. In all, more than $675 billion in federal funds a year are distributed in part based on census data.”

The private sector also relies on census data.

“...So many businesses decide where to invest based on census data,” Robert Rhatigan, interim director for Geospatial and Population Studies at the University of New Mexico told the Albuquerque Journal. “As they say, ‘bad data makes bad decisions.’”

Because census positions are federally funded, applicants will be asked to:

1) provide a valid Social Security number (unless the applicant is applying for a non-citizen translator position)

2) provide an email address

3) complete a series of assessment questions

4) be able to speak, read, and write in English

5) register with the Selective Service System or obtain a qualifying exemption

6) undergo fingerprinting/pass a background check, and

7) commit to complete the training

More than 700,000 people across the country were hired to conduct the census in 2010, and around 4,000 of those were non-citizen translators.

New Mexico and Alaska were the most undercounted states in the nation in 2010 according to The Guardian. The work that census workers do helps to achieve an accurate population count. 

“The census is one of those things that can sound distant from our daily lives, but it is actually critical to so much — like education funding and affordable housing,” Albuquerque Mayor Tim Keller told the Daily Lobo. “Helping out with the census is also a great way to get to know our city.”

Lissa Knudsen is a beat reporter for the Daily Lobo. She can be contacted at news@dailylobo.com or @lissaknudsen