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January 3, 2020

Census hero

Every ten years, there’s an upward blip in the national employment statistics as the federal government hires tens of thousands of workers to complete the decennial census. The jobs are temporary, but they pay well and give people an opportunity to build their resume and skills while serving their community. With unemployment at historic lows, it will be more difficult than in past years to recruit census workers. 

About the job 

In San Diego, our local census office plans to hire hundreds of people between now and April. Training will begin in March and runs through mid-May. The pay rate for temporary census takers in San Diego is $20.50 per hour. As a census taker, your responsibilities include visiting and speaking with residents to gather valuable census data, such as their address and other information about the household.

Why the census matters 

The census occurs every 10 years and influences how more than $675 billion from over 100 federal programs are distributed, the Census Bureau reports. The accuracy and completeness of the census is critical for our region. It will drive federal funding decisions and the demographic data is used for business and government decision making for years.   

Why hiring a diverse workforce is imperative to a successful census 

The census counts residents, regardless of citizenship status. Data from the census is, by law, segregated from other federal data systems and cannot be used for benefits or immigration decisions affecting individuals or families. Because people with immigration issues may be fearful of sharing information with the government, it is essential to recruit census takers from every neighborhood, language and ethnic group to ensure an accurate count. 

Who should apply 

These jobs may be ideal for individuals with availability particularly in the summer months from MayJuly, including students, teachers and retirees; or those simply looking to earn extra income.  

In order to qualify, applicants must: 

  • Be at least 18 years old
  • Complete an online application and assessment questions 
  • Pass a criminal background test
  • Be available to work flexible hours including evenings and weekends
  • Have access to a vehicle and valid driver’s license

For assistance, call 1-855-JOB-2020.

For more information about statewide efforts to ensure a complete count, visit 

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