By Victoria Ratliff
INDIANAPOLIS—Workers in Indiana could earn up to $25 an hour working for the United States Census Bureau in 2020.
Nearly 500,000 census workers nation-wide will be hired for field and office, including census taker positions which collect data door-to-door.
Indiana’s unemployment rate is currently at 3.2% and Carol Rogers, the governor’s liaison for the census, said she believes the impact of fewer workers has already been felt. She is a co-director of the Indiana Business Research Center at Indiana University-Purdue University at Indianapolis.
Some positions in Indiana could pay up to $25 an hour because the wages were recently raised because of the low number of applications.
She said the Census Bureau is countering the unemployment rate’s effects by offering flexible part-time jobs with high pay rates.
The United States Census Bureau conducts the survey every decade as required by the U.S. Constitution to count every person living in the United States, collecting demographic data including age, race, sex, and date of birth of every person living in the residence as of April 1, 2020. Other information gathered includes whether the residence is rented or owned, whether anyone is of Hispanic or Latino descent, and the relationship of each person to the individual filling out the form.
The data gathered through the census provide a snapshot of the United States and the statistics are used by businesses, government officials and others.
As the population of the country shifts, census data are used to redraw legislative district boundaries at the federal, state and local levels. Indiana currently has nine congressional districts, down from 10. The state lost one representative following the 2000 census.
Indiana’s current main goal is to amplify the Census Bureau’s messages, which is to encourage every person to fill out the form when it arrives, Rogers said.
Every state, including Indiana, has Complete Count Committees, which conduct meetings in cities and towns across the states meant to increase local awareness about the census.
Rogers said these meetings, along with state agencies promoting the census, is the state trying to inform locals and do their part to help with the census process.
This year, the Census Bureau is also expanding how it collects data. There are now options for those who might have found difficulty in filling out the physical form, including online, over the phone, or on paper through the mail. The online option is designed to make filling out the census easier for the public.
The Census Bureau is also taking other measures to count those living in special situations, including college students, those living in remote areas, and those experiencing homelessness.
The bureau has also extended the deadline to self-respond and has built a network to secure the online census.
“We’ve got people working around the clock to make it confidential,” Rogers said.
All responses to the census will be collected by July, and apportionment counts will be delivered to the president and Congress by December. The data will be publicly available early next year.
FOOTNOTES: Victoria Ratliff is a reporter for TheStatehouseFile.com, a news website powered by Franklin College journalism students.