The U.S. Census Bureau wants to hire more than half a million temporary workers to help with next year's survey of the nation's population. With flexible hours and competitive pay, these jobs can be a good fit for older adults who are looking to augment their income, according to people who have filled these positions in the past.
Every 10 years, the government conducts a survey of every home in the United States in order to figure out how many people live in this country — and where they live. The population count determines how money is allocated for federal services and how many congressional representatives each state has.
To handle this increased workload every decade, the bureau hires extra help. The peak recruiting phase for the 2020 census will start this mid-September and last through February, according to Timothy Olson, associate director for field operations for the Census Bureau. People who are interested can apply for positions online at 2020 Census Jobs (English application or Spanish application).
Most of the hiring will be for enumerators, the workers who go door-to-door to conduct interviews with people who haven't filled out the bureau's survey.
"Everyone in the country will have the opportunity to self-respond to the census, either online, over the phone or with a paper questionnaire,” Olson says. “But then there are some households that won't do that, and we follow up with them in person to conduct interviews. And in that operation, we will hire — all told — over half a million people, and they're distributed throughout the United States."
People are hired to work in their local area or neighborhood, Olson says. “One of the questions I often get is: ‘Where are you recruiting? Where are you hiring?’ And the answer is so easy for me. It's ‘Everywhere.’ Literally, everywhere. There is nowhere where we are not recruiting or not hiring."
The local hiring has advantages, both for the people who conduct the interviews and the people they have to talk to, according to Sandra Hamilton, 71, who worked as an enumerator for the 2010 census based in Ohio. Hamilton is a retired social worker who also volunteers at a food pantry near her home in downtown Cincinnati. When she started working for the Census Bureau 10 years ago, some of the people she was assigned to interview were familiar faces from her volunteer work.