The National Partnership team hosted a webinar to learn more about how to get involved with the Learning Communities Resource Center (LCRC) as we launch the next cycle of sharing and learning opportunities for the Community Action CSBG Network. LCRC is an innovation hub that works with CAAs to identify effective, promising, and innovative practice models that combat the causes and conditions of poverty. Participating individuals and agencies are given the opportunity to develop innovative anti-poverty approaches, improve programs, and sharpen service-delivery strategies specific to the needs of local communities. Join a network of organizations and leaders who have been given the tools to launch impactful and lasting transformations through participation in these sharing and learning cohorts! During the webinar, we discussed upcoming events, cohort topics, new resources, and application process questions.
The Census Bureau is still hiring! They have a lot of jobs to fill yet, and with less than four weeks to go before mailed invitations start to arrive at houses, now is the time to encourage people to apply. We’ve gathered some tips for applying that might make the process easier and less frustrating.
Applications for Census jobs are taken online. Once applications are completed, they are filtered and processed. If an applicant is accepted for the next phase of the process, they will be called THREE TIMES by a Recruiting Assistant (RA). If the applicant does not answer, the RA may or may not leave a message. If all three calls are missed and any message left is not returned, the application goes back into the applicant pool and may or may not be selected again.
When you do get a call, you will have to say yes or no to a Census job on the spot. You may not understand what the actual job is and what will be asked of you. SAY YES. After the forms are filled out, your application will undergo a background check. When that is completed, you will have an opportunity to work with the agency to be placed in a position that works well for you.
Here is a timeline with more detailed information:
- To apply for these positions go to https://2020census.gov/jobs and login or start a new profile.
- It should ask you to verify your email address. Check your email.
- After verifying your email, login to the 2020census.gov/jobs applicant portal as a returning applicant
- Fill out the application fully, and take the assessment if you want to be considered for a supervisor position. There is no particular position you’re applying for. You’ll be in a pool for Enumerator, Clerk and Recruiting Assistant (RA). If you took the assessment and scored well enough you’ll also be in the pool for Census Field Supervisor (CFS) and Office Operations Supervisor (OOS).
- If you filled out everything, you should have a status of “Available” on the portal. If not, then go back and fill out all the required info.
- Then, you wait for a call. It’s possible that you will be called as soon as the next day. It could also be a month or two. TIP: Call the Census Bureau at 855-562-2020, select option 3 and listen to the message. It should give you the number to your Area Census Office (ACO) based on the zip code you enter in when prompted. A call offering you a job with the Census will be something similar to this number. ARs are not required to leave a voice message, but if you get a voicemail from the Census return the call ASAP. If you delay, you could be skipped in this selection record and go back into to the pool until another selection is made.
- When you are called, listen to the RA read their script. Note any questions so you can ask if they aren’t addressed.
- If you were selected for a position, you should receive an email within 4 days of the call with instructions on scheduling your fingerprinting. Your status on the portal should now show “Selected.” In some cases the ACO will assist with scheduling a fingerprinting appointment with you over the phone.
- Once your fingerprinting is done, there’s another waiting period for your background check to clear. *If you do not get your fingerprints done in a timely manner you could be de-selected and placed back into the hiring pool.*
- Once your background check is complete, you will get a confirmation email requesting that you upload 4 documents to the portal.
- The ACO checks to see if the documents are uploaded not. You may get a call at this time prompting you to complete this step and upload the documents. If you do not get these documents uploaded in a timely manner you could be de-selected and placed back into the hiring pool.
- Once everything is complete you can expect to receive a call when your training date/time and location will take place. Timing for that depends on a variety of factors, and cannot be predicted.
We strongly encourage staff to apply for these positions themselves – they are both part time and full time and can be tailored to your schedule. We also encourage front line staff members to suggest applying to the customers they work with. The best way for the Census Bureau to reach some populations is by having people who look, sound and act the same way as the people answering the door!
The link to jobs in your state and pay rates that are available is here. You can explore different Census Bureau opportunities here. Pay rates range from $13-27, depending on your area, and reimburses $.58 a mile.
Experts are saying that despite the technological improvements and nationwide efforts to increase awareness, the 2020 Census will still miss a large portion of the U.S. population. Controversy over the citizenship question being on the census form has negatively impacted engagement with undercounted communities, as well. The list of challenges the Census Bureau faces in ensuring a complete count is endless. This begs the question:
How much faith can we put in the Census process?
The answer is not simple. Reveal News released a podcast this month that attempts to answer that exact question. They examine the many challenges of implementing the Census, how individual states are approaching undercounted populations, and the insidious methods of skewing Census data.
The general conclusion is that yes, the Census process is flawed. There are better ways of counting the U.S. population. However, this is the process we have, and it is not changing anytime soon. We must work with what we’ve got and focus on the positive change we can make. If we abandon our efforts now, undercounted communities will receive none of the funding and representation they deserve.
(Credit: Illustration elements taken from a drawing by Clifford K. Berryman, via the National Archives. Photo illustration by Michael I Schiller/Reveal)
Below, you will find some important dates to keep in mind as we move into 2020.
- Enumeration begins in remote Alaska
- Census Internet, Mail, and Phone Invitation Letters
- Census Bureau mails materials to all households with information about how to respond online (including unique household ID) and language assistance resources. Materials will be mailed in 4 waves across the United States on 3/12, 3/13, 3/19, and 3/20. The online response platform will be live at the time of the first mailing. The Bureau also mails the paper form to the 20 percent of households it suspects have the lowest level of internet access. Households will receive reminder letters to households that have not completed the census throughout March and April.
- Census Internet, Mail, and Phone Invitation Letters (2nd round)
April 1: Census Day!
- Many events will happen on this day but it is important to note that this day is a reference day only. People can continue to fill out the census online or by phone through the spring.
May 13: Non-response follow up runs through July
- At this point, the Census Bureau identifies who has not responded to the census. The Census Bureau sends census workers to visit households that did not return their form. People may still complete the census online or via phone throughout this period.
The U.S. Census Bureau has chosen VMLY&R to manage its paid advertising campaign for the 2020 Census, called Shape Your Future: START HERE. The campaign spent nearly $250 million on media slots and is slated to launch mid-January 2020. The Shape Your Future: START HERE campaign has been designed to be multicultural and multilingual. The campaign will include targeted communications to the following racial and ethnic groups:
- American Indian and Alaska Natives
- Asians (specifically Chinese, Korean, Japanese, Vietnamese, and Filipino)
- Black/African Americans (Afro-Caribbeans, Sub-Saharan Africans, and Haitians)
- Hispanics and Puerto Rico residents
- Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders
- Middle Eastern/North Africans
VMLY&R released the media outlets that have been chosen to distribute advertisements. These outlets include local television and radio stations, billboard and poster locations nationwide, print newspapers and magazines, and online digital content. Local organizations and leaders can prepare their own promotions to fill any gaps that the national campaign may miss. Check out what types of ads your community will see here.
The 2020 Census also released a Public Service Announcement via YouTube that you can share on social media. It is a quick video that talks about how the Census can be completed.
The U.S. Census Bureau has released a sample copy of the questionnaire that will be used in the 2020 Census. Requested information on the form includes:
- Type of occupancy (own, rent, etc.)
- Number of people in the household
- Names of people in the household
- Demographics (gender, age, race) of people in the household
The sample is in both English and Spanish. The box at the top of the form provides clear instructions about how to fill out the form and who to include. The print form allows up to 10 people to be included, however, larger households can fill out the form online or by phone.
The official form will not be mailed out for households to complete until March 12, 2020.
Until then, the document can be used to assist local organizations and leaders in preparing communities to participate in the Census. Take a look so your organization can anticipate the questions or concerns your community will have. You can download the form on the Census Bureau website here.
In November, the U.S. Census Bureau released their mailing strategy explaining which areas will receive targeted materials for completing the 2020 Census. You can read the full press release on the U.S. Census Bureau website. Here is an overview:
- About 3/4 of households will receive an invitation to respond online
- About 1/4 will receive a paper questionnaire
- Specific areas will receive English/Spanish invitations
The Center for Urban Research has analyzed and incorporated this new information into the Hard-To-Count Map, so you can see how your State’s hard-to-count communities will be affected. Census stakeholders can use this map to inform their local communities on what to expect and strategize how to engage more residents in the 2020 Census.
To ensure that low-income communities and communities of color are included in the complete Census count, it is important to encourage participation at all levels – including hiring people from these communities as Census workers. However, income from working with the Census has the potential to affect eligibility for public benefits like TANF and food stamps. Most states have the authority to issue waivers so income from temporary and part-time Census jobs will not count against eligibility.
Common Cause has identified the states and territories that have not yet issued waivers for 2020:
- AR, DC, HI, ID, IN, IA, KY, MA, MN, MT, ND, RI, SC, WI, WY, Puerto Rico, and Samoa
States and territories not listed here have issued waivers for 2020. Those in bold lettering issued a waiver in 2010 but have not for 2020.
If you see your state or territory listed, take action and urge representatives to support 2020 Census workers! Common Cause’s goal is for all states and territories to issue waivers by the end of December 2019. Learn more and find your state representative in this Common Cause fact sheet.
October 2019 updates for the Census 2020 Hard to Count map
Here are the latest updates to the HTC 2020 map to help you plan your Get Out the Count campaigns:
Recently the Census Bureau published new data indicating which parts of the country will be included in each “Type of Enumeration Area” (TEA) for the 2020 Census; in other words, which households will be receiving either mailed instructions or hand-delivered instructions, or will be enumerated in-person. The updated data includes statistics by tract, county, and state of the share of households in each TEA. We’ve added this info to the HTC 2020 map so census stakeholders can use this information to inform their outreach. (This updates the original TEA designations that we mapped in March 2019).
The update reflects changes in areas such as Paradise, CA that were impacted by wildfires in 2018. In the map image below, the areas highlighted in purple on the map are where Paradise households that previously would have received 2020 Census instructions by mail will now have these instructions hand-delivered. Hand-delivery not only helps ensure that residents who have been displaced or are living in temporary housing will receive census instructions, but it also enables census staff to update the Bureau’s address list. Areas in yellow below already were slated to receive instructions by hand instead of mail. (Click the image to view the interactive map.)
It’s important to emphasize that the TEA designations have not changed for areas affected by recent natural disasters, despite statements indicating otherwise. In May 2019, NPR published a report quoting the Census Bureau that “If other natural disasters occur prior to the 2020 Census, we will make appropriate adjustments to our operations to ensure we cover any affected areas.” Several natural disasters have occurred since then, such as Hurricane Dorian, Tropical Storm Imelda (impacting a dozen or so counties in Texas), tornadoes in several states (such as Alabama and Ohio as well as Kansas and Oklahoma), and “the Great Flood of 2019” as the New York Times reported.
But the latest TEA update does not include any changes in these areas. Households in these areas – many of whom have been displaced or their houses destroyed – will still receive mailed instructions from the Bureau instead of hand-delivered instructions. In a statement this month to NPR, the Census Bureau concluded that no TEA changes were necessary in the affected areas, and instead the Bureau will “increase partnership activities and resident education” in these communities.
Enhancing the HTC 2020 map’s hard-to-count metrics
We’ve added a few items to the HTC 2020 map to supplement the 2010 Mail Return Rates and help census stakeholders understand how likely it will be for households to self-respond to the 2020 Census.
First, for each census tract the HTC map now shows the Census Bureau’s latest “low response score” (LRS). The LRS relies on recent population characteristics in an attempt to predict the share of households in each tract that will not self-respond in 2020. To present this information in a more consistent way with the 2010 mail return rates, we use “100 minus the LRS” to reflect the predicted share of households that will self-respond to the 2020 Census, as highlighted in red at right.
Second, we added a note just below the LRS paragraph to emphasize that neither the 2010 mail return rate nor the LRS “tell the whole story about whether your community will be hard-to-count in 2020. The demographic information below [in the blue drop-down list] will help give you a more detailed picture of your neighborhood. And be sure to combine your local knowledge of your neighborhood with these data points when you’re planning your Get Out the Count efforts.” We hope this helps!
Third, we’ve included links to the Urban Institute’s recent report on Assessing Miscounts in the 2020 Census. Now when you search for or click on any state on the HTC 2020 map, we show the Urban Institute’s undercount estimate for that state along with a link that goes directly to the state-level details from the Institute’s report (like this one for Texas).
Fourth, we revised how census tracts are displayed whose residents are living in group quarters. Unlike household residents, people in group quarters – such as college dorms, health institutions, prisons, or military facilities – are enumerated using several methods separate from the Census Bureau’s mailings or hand-delivery of census instructions.
An observant map user from Nebraska noticed that the HTC 2020 map had displayed some of these group quarters tracts as hard-to-count. We updated the map so that these tracts are no longer highlighted using the HTC orange-to-dark red color scheme. Now the map displays a note showing the latest group quarters population estimate for the tract, such as the tract illustrated below that includes the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.
“The Census paper form only has space for 10 people, but my household has more than that.”
What if your house has more than 10 people? It definitely is the case for many people living in America, like in mixed generation households or established families hosting newly arrived relatives. It’s so important to count everyone, but the paper form only has spaces for 10 people, so what do you do?
The best option is to fill out the 2020 Census over the phone or online. In both of those scenarios, there is no limit to the number of people you can count on your 2020 Census form. Filling out the 2020 Census completely – and as soon as you can – is the best way to make sure your entire household is counted and to prevent Census Bureau employees, called Enumerators, from coming to your house or calling you to ask follow up questions.
If you do fill out the 2020 Census on a paper form, when question 1 asks:
“How many people were living or staying in this house, apartment, or mobile home on April 1, 2020?” you should answer the full number in your household, even if it’s more than 10.
The instructions on the top of Page 8 of the sample form state: “Use this section to complete information for the rest of the people you counted in Question 1 on the front page. We may call for additional information about them.” That indicates that enumerator follow up will be necessary when there are more people in the household than spaces on the form, so doing the 2020 Census this way will likely trigger an Enumerator visit and/or call.
There are other situations where enumerator follow up is necessary to clarify the information provided, too. For example, if the Census receives suspicious looking responses (i.e., Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck) or multiple responses for the same people, they are also likely to call or visit to clarify that information.
It is highly unlikely that additional pages or additional 2020 Census forms will be available anyone, since the Census Bureau is trying to push people to online or phone responses. The answer to questions about obtaining additional paper forms has been: “no, you only get the paper form that is mailed to you or dropped off at your door; if you don’t receive any paper forms, you must go online or call in to provide your information.”
Bottom line, best policy for larger households is to fill out the 2020 Census online or call in over the phones. Both options will be available starting on March 12, 2020.