Workers Sought for 2020 Census

By Victoria Ford | Oct 02, 2019

Southern Ocean County — The Census Bureau is currently recruiting hundreds of thousands of workers, at a rate of $18 to $20 an hour, to help ensure every resident in the country is counted. Early next year, residents will be invited to complete their 2020 Census questionnaire.

Brian Edwards from the U.S. Census Bureau attended last month’s meeting of the Southern Ocean County Chamber of Commerce to give members a quick “Census: 101.”

The first U.S. census was conducted in 1790, he said, when the country’s population was 4 million, as compared to 340 million now, so “it’s a whole different animal.”

The main purposes for gathering census data are to help distribute $675 billion in federal funding to states for Medicaid, Pell Grants, school lunch programs, transit and more; and to determine each state’s allocation in the U.S. House of Representatives. For 2020, a major push is underway to ensure kids under 10 are counted correctly. Specific to the shore region, second homeowners, a.k.a. “snow birds,” can make it harder to get an accurate count.

For the sake of efficiency and data protection, everything is online now, Edwards said. Libraries are good resources for assistance for those who don’t have internet access or struggle with computers.

April 1 is the official census day, meaning anyone who doesn’t have a permanent address will be counted wherever they happen to be as of that day. If census questionnaires are not completed and submitted by April, enumerators or field workers are the backup plan. Throughout the country, 400,000 will be hired. “It’s the largest deployment of federal workers outside of wartime,” Edwards noted.

Ocean County Freeholder Joseph H. Vicari, who serves as liaison to the 2020 Census, said the positions provide the perfect opportunity to earn some extra income while helping the community.

“These jobs are your chance to play a part in history and help ensure that everyone in your community is counted,” he said. “This will ensure our schools, hospitals and businesses all receive the federal funding needed to best serve you.” He added that most 2020 Census positions will likely last several weeks. These temporary positions can include census takers, recruiting assistants, office staff and supervisory staff.

To apply for a 2020 Census job, visit

Eligible applicants are U.S. citizens 18 and older with a valid Social Security number and email address; an application and assessment must be completed, and an English proficiency test may be required; males born after Dec. 31, 1959 must be registered with the Selective Service System or have a qualifying exemption. Applicants must pass a criminal background check and a review of criminal records, including fingerprinting; complete the training; and be available to work flexible hours, which can include days, evenings, and/or weekends. Most jobs require employees to have access to a vehicle and a valid driver’s license, unless public transportation is readily available, in addition to having access to a computer with internet and an email account (to complete training).

Ocean County Freeholder Director Virginia E. Haines added the Census Bureau is committed to hiring people to work in the area where they live.

“Working where you live is a benefit to the Census Bureau,” she said. “You have a good working knowledge of your area and that is a helpful advantage.”

According to the Census Bureau (an equal opportunity employer), if employed elsewhere, census workers’ jobs must not create conflicts of interest. Workers may not engage in any partisan political activity while on duty.

Veterans who served on active duty in the U.S. armed forces and were separated under honorable conditions may be eligible for veterans’ preference.

To learn more, contact 1-855-JOB-2020 and select option 3. Or use the Federal Relay Service at 1-800-877-8339 for TTY/ASCII.

— Victoria Ford

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