U.S. Census Bureau looks to hire Nebraskans for April census data collection


Jimmy Carroll

The U.S. Census Bureau is looking for temporary employees to collect census data. Photo courtesy of U.S. Census Bureau.

The 2020 Nebraska census is coming in April, and the U.S. Census Bureau is looking to recruit Nebraskans to help the process, making this an opportunity for those needed a temporary job.

Beginning in March, census applications will be sent out via paper, online and phone. The biggest thing for the recruits is to find the “hard to count” Nebraskans. The U.S. Census Bureau hopes the workers will gain trust from the communities who do not think their applications matter.

 A large majority of Nebraska counties, at the time of this writing, have achieved over 80% of their recruitment goals. However, there is still work to be done in order to get more census workers by April. Both Douglas and Sarpy county have only reached about 50% of their recruitment goals.

The Lincoln Journal Star says Nebraska’s population has grown to nearly two million, up 8,800 the previous year. This has a fairly major impact on census numbers.

For those interested in being a census worker and making some extra money, the job pays between $19.50 to $21.50 an hour.

UNO senior Jack Zipay said working for the census bureau would be nerve-wracking but also a money maker.

 “I am not too sure I would want to do the work, but I applaud those who give it a try to help produce an accurate census,” Zipay said.

People may ask why they need to complete census paperwork. Erin Porterfield, from Heartland Workforce Solutions, says the census is important for many reasons.

“An accurate census accounts for accurate federal funds for the state,” Porterfield said. “The census will ask for you name, address, sex, age, race, ethnicity, relationship and housing tenure.”

Some may think privacy is an issue, but privacy from a census is guaranteed by the law. Additionally, participating in the census is required. Census workers are only asked to visit addresses that did not respond to mailings from the U.S. Census Bureau.

Deputy Regional Director Vicki McIntire of the U.S. Census Bureau hopes that 65% of people across the state fill out the paperwork on their own on time.

“Every community has their own fears and doubt when filling out census papers but we hope to gain trust with them through our census workers,” McIntire said.

The census has multiple languages included on it but the Spanish version will only be in print. This will probably be the toughest challenge for census workers, finding the hard-to-reach populations, including the homeless, low-income, undocumented immigrants and more.

The College of Public Affairs and Community Service building at the University of Nebraska at Omaha (UNO) says the census asks the questions they do on the surveys because of federal needs and for community benefits. The information helps determine how more than $675 billion dollars of federal funding annually is spent on infrastructure and other services.