2020 Census preparation underway

Job openings starting… now

By Katherine Nettles

Census 2020 approaches in less than a year, and the federal government is hiring and training locally for the task of counting every person residing within the county. The Gunnison County Commissioners heard a presentation from Brian Meinhart with the U.S. Census Bureau on June 11 regarding the importance of accurate counts, how they affect local areas and how people can assist and maybe even find extra work making sure Gunnison County is properly accounted for.

The census data collected is used to allocate federal funds totalling $675 billion annually, said Meinhart, and will be used for redistricting in 2021. And in some cases, it will be used to add congressional seats to a growing state like Colorado. “I’m pretty sure we are going to pick up a new congressional seat,” said Meinhart.

In order to aid the national effort, Meinhart said local advocates and workers are needed to fill “critical roles.” Colorado will have four census offices, in Denver, Colorado Springs, Longmont and Aurora. Without an office in the western portion of the state, he said it comes down to local partnersips and government, which tend to score higher among residents for trustworthiness than the federal government as well.

Meinhart said that office and field staff positions are payed $14 per hour and 53 cents per mile for travel. 

The census in 2020 will officially kick off on March 9, 2020, and be available to do online for the first time in its history, by computer, smart phone, tablet or any other electronic device. It can also be done by phone, on paper or in person. Self Response will be available until July 24, 2020.

Meinhart emphasized that getting an accurate count of all people residing in Gunnison County, regardless of citizenship, voter registration, or even tax status is a constitutional mandate (Article One, Section 2 of the U.S. Constitution), in which the federal government is required to do a census every 10 years, and all residents within the U.S. are also required to participate. The bureau’s information packet states, “It is the process of our democracy that builds equity in access to funding and representation in Congress.“

More information and job postings can be found at https://2020census.gov/jobs or www.usajobs.gov.

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