Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Garrett County in need of more 2010 census takers

Garrett County in need of more 2010 census takers

Commissioners want residents to take advantage of jobs

Megan Miller
Cumberland Times-News

CUMBERLAND — Uncle Sam needs you — to work for the U.S. Census Bureau in 2010.

That’s according to the bureau’s Frederick office, which covers parts of Western Maryland including Allegany and Garrett counties. The office is stepping up its employee recruitment efforts in the two counties, said Patty Cox, a Frederick Census Bureau employee.

“We have recruiters in Allegany and Garrett, but it’s been more challenging to reach people there because it’s such a large area to cover,” Cox said.

In late February or early March the Census Bureau will be hiring temporary employees in the two counties to work as census takers. Beginning in April 2010, the census takers will go into local communities to collect data from households that do not return a census form by mail.

The issue came up briefly during Tuesday’s public meeting of the Garrett County commissioners. The commissioners released a prepared statement about the importance of the decennial census and local census jobs.

“It would be in the best interest of all citizens of the county to take advantage of not only the census count of 2010, but the jobs which will be available in the early spring,” the statement read in part. “Aside from the importance to the county of an accurate census count, these are good-paying opportunities for our citizens.”

Census taker jobs through the Frederick office start at a pay rate of $15.50 per hour. Census takers are also paid for mileage.

About 3.1 million applicants will be needed to fill census-taker jobs nationwide. Census takers work about 20 to 40 hours per week, usually in the evenings and on weekends, according to the Census Bureau Web site. The jobs are temporary and will last through the data-gathering phase of the 2010 census.

The Census Bureau has been recruiting workers since fall 2008 for the earliest stages of census preparation, but fall 2009 saw the beginning of its full-scale recruitment effort for census takers.

Cox said the bureau attempts to hire local people as census takers whenever possible to go out into communities and collect data. All prospective census takers are required to take an exam. That testing is going on now at the One-Stop Career Center in both Allegany and Garrett counties.

Every household should expect to receive a census form in the mail in March 2010. If the completed form isn’t returned by mail, the Census Bureau will mail a reminder to the same address. If the completed form still isn’t returned, a census taker will visit the address to collect the information in person.

The 2010 census form will look a bit different from those used in previous years. All households will receive a short form survey consisting of 10 questions, some of which are repeated to gather information about every person living at that address.

The Census Bureau did away with its long-form questionnaire altogether. Instead, detailed population information is gathered using the American Community Survey, which is sent to a small portion of the U.S. population — about 3 million households — each year.

People interested in applying to work as census takers can contact the Allegany or Garrett County One-Stop Career Center, call the toll-free U.S. Census Bureau jobs line at (866) 861-2010, or go online to

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