Flexibility: Medium

Social Engagement: High

What’s What: Uncle Sam needs you! The census collects household and demographic information to get as accurate a count as possible of the number of people living in the United States. It’s constitutionally mandatory every 10 years and the next one is in 2020. If you’re looking for a short-term, local, flexible job that gets you out of the house and working with a team, the U.S. Census Bureau is recruiting now. Census takers go door-to-door in every state to verify the residential addresses in their community before the 2020 census is mailed. They then visit the homes of people who didn’t fill out the census and interview any available adult member of the household to complete the questionnaire.

Amava Take: Census figures play a big role in how federal tax dollars are distributed and determine the number of congressional members per state. Census workers play a critical role to make sure people who don’t fill out a census form themselves by mail, phone or online get counted. With unemployment considerably lower than it was in 2010, the Census Bureau is expecting to have a harder time filling the hundreds of thousands of census taker positions that will be available. Census takers generally work between 20 and 40 hours a week for 5-10 weeks.

From the Front Lines:

What kinds of candidates are you looking for to fill these positions?

Dependable, conscientious people who have a sense of direction and are good at verbally communicating with people.

Any tips for first-timers to make it a productive and fulfilling experience?

Wear comfortable shoes and have a good attitude. Smiling does wonders to help people trust you when they open the door.

What’s a typical daily schedule like?

Be prepared to work evenings, weekends, and in poor weather conditions. We receive daily assignments and travel to our assigned neighborhoods, walking to each address to interview occupants and document responses.

From the Trenches:  

What’s the most satisfying part of the job?

Walking around in different neighborhoods and getting to meet new people. I’ve had some genuinely nice conversations and I always get my steps in.

How would you describe the hard parts?

Getting the door shut in my face before they even know what I’m asking.  

What is the time frame for the 2020 census?

The actual census will be taken from March until June of 2020 and data will be delivered to the White House by Dec. 31, 2020. The official Census Day is April 1.

Special Requirements: Applicants must be U.S. citizens, speak English (bilingual is a plus), pass a background check, get fingerprinted, have a valid driver’s license, and complete an online job application. The application includes assessment questions about your education, work, and other experience.

Finding a Position: Apply for a job at the Census Bureau website or see the U.S. government website. You can also call the recruiting hotline at 1-955-JOB-2020. Here is an article about what census takers do. Here is additional information about census bureau recruitment. Here are some answers to frequently asked questions.