Hiring Black Census Employees in California Could Avert an Undercount in 2020

The California Census Of­fice believes there will be high­er participation among African Americans during next year’s census if “trusted messengers” help get the word out and go door-to-door conducting pre-surveys, educating people and helping some fill out question­naires in Black communities.

The national Census, con­ducted every 10 years, is man­dated by the United States Constitution. It records criti­cal demographic information about residents of every state in the country and it is used to determine political representa­tion in the U. S. Congress, as well as provide important in­sights into the economy.

Some of the data the bureau collects are obtained using household surveys. The exer­cise produces statistics that de­scribe populations in detail by characteristics such as age, ed­ucation, housing, and income.

Since the inception of the Census, Black communities have been routinely under­counted. The reasons for the inaccurate count in the last decennial, census researchers say, included the large num­ber of Black people who move frequently; multigenerational families living in the same home; homes with multiple families sometimes living in different units at the same ad­dress that census workers may not recognize; teen single mothers; homelessness; high rates of incarceration; and a general reluctance to partici­pate based on inadequate in­formation.

More than one-third of California’s 2.2 million Black population lives in the Los Angeles area, where there is a large number of tracts the U.S. Census Bureau designates as “hard-to-count” because of inaccurate population totals in the past.

While the margins of un­counted Blacks seem to de­crease after every 10 years, the last decennial in 2010 still undercounted the Black popu­lation by close to 800,000 peo­ple. Inaccurate counts can also impact numbers policymakers depend on to make other im­portant decisions.

Preparing for the 2020 Cen­sus, the U.S. Census Bureau is in the process of hiring about 500,000 workers across the country for the national count that will cost the federal gov­ernment a little over $15 billion.

Tens of thousands of tem­porary federal employees will join the effort in California to assist with collecting data and reaching out to citizens on the internet, by phone and in per­son. Pay is based on location and position.

In larger cities like Sacra­mento, Los Angeles, and San Francisco, salaries range any­where from $17.00 to $30.00 per hour for field representa­tive positions.

All applicants must be US citizens, although special ex­emptions have been made in the past for people with spe­cific languages skills.

Census job opportunities can be found HERE

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