Early next year, the United States Census Bureau will begin asking U.S. residents to participate in the 2020 Census by mail, phone or online. In preparation, the U.S. Census Bureau is accepting applications for local part-time census takers.

“It’s coming in the spring next year, and we need people to apply for the jobs that are available in their area,” Census Partnership Coordinator Mary Jane Garza said.

Required by law to be conducted every 10 years, the U.S. Census Bureau collects statistical data on the U.S. population — both citizens and non-citizens — that is then used in determining funding and representation in Congress and the State Legislature.

“It’s how we determine representation in the House of Representatives, it’s how we do redistricting, it’s how we get funding for over 200 federal programs,” Garza said. “So it’s very important for the entire United States that we get an accurate count, and that we count every single person that resides in the United States.”

Garza said the 12 counties that comprise the Coastal Bend area, which includes Kleberg County, have been designated by the U.S. Census Bureau as “hard-to-count.”

“Which means that in our particular area, we do not have a high response rate,” she said. 

Garza said a low response rate in the 2020 Census could affect not only redistricting, but also funding to several programs and services, including highway repairs, Medicaid programs, free breakfast and lunch programs in school districts and Pell Grants.

“It affects us monetarily,” she said. “The more people that we’re able to count in our area, and identify within our area, the more dollars we will see coming into our area.”

Education on the importance of the 2020 Census is key, Garza said, and the U.S. Census Bureau will have “partnership specialists” to present and inform the public about the census.

“It makes a difference for each and every community, but we want them to see how it will affect them here in the Coastal Bend area,” she said.

Garza said she also wanted to stress that all responses in the 2020 Census are confidential.

“The only things that are given to anyone are the numbers,” she said. “The numbers paint the picture of what the United States looks like. That is it.”

In preparation for the 2020 Census, Garza said the U.S. Census Bureau is currently accepting applications for part-time census takers, who will go door-to-door to provide information on the 2020 Census.

“We need people that know the area and that know the streets,” she said.

Garza said in Kleberg County, they are looking for a minimum of 145 applicants at least 18 years or older for census taker positions. She said the starting pay for census taker positions is about $15 an hour.

“So it pays very well,” Garza said. “And it’s part-time, so you can have a full-time job and still work 10-12 hours after (work) hours or on weekends.”

While the 2020 Census will not officially begin until April 1, Garza said people interested in becoming census takers should apply now.

“We will begin hiring probably around the latter part of December or early part of January,” she said. “It takes time, so we are asking (applicants) to be patient.”

To apply for a part-time census taker position, visit 2020census.gov/jobs or call (855) 562-2020.

Anthony Ruiz can be contacted at aruiz@king-ranch.com or (361) 221-0251.

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