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Midwest States Lag in Hiring Census Takers

Wisconsin is considered among nearly 20 states where there's an urgent plea for people to apply for census jobs. (
Wisconsin is considered among nearly 20 states where there's an urgent plea for people to apply for census jobs. (
January 14, 2020

MADISON, Wis. -- You might get a knock on your door from a census worker sometime this spring, but the bureau says it still has a lot of recruiting to do to staff those positions in states such as Wisconsin. They're hoping seniors can help fill the gap for the 2020 count.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, most Wisconsin counties haven't even reached the halfway point for their hiring goals for these part-time, temporary jobs. Jennifer Baier is the census lead for AARP. She said they hope they can help make some progress.

"Those Midwest states are a little bit behind on recruiting, and we're highly encouraging AARP members to apply for those positions," Baier said. "They're pretty well paid. In Wisconsin, it ranges from $17 an hour to $22 an hour."

The jobs call on workers to go door-to-door to connect with people who haven't filled out any census information yet. In addition to Wisconsin, Minnesota and Michigan also are behind in recruiting. Overall, the bureau hopes to hire 500,000 people for the 2020 count.

Baier said if they don't hire enough people, there might be an undercount in some areas. She said that might put some regions in danger of losing federal funding or a congressional seat.

Baier said seniors are ideal candidates because they have a lot of work experience and know how to communicate with a variety of people. And she said they tend to know their communities well.

"They're likely to get someone to answer a door who might not otherwise," she said. "They know their friends, neighbors, relatives."

And with many seniors living on a fixed income, Baier said it's a good way to earn some extra money while getting exercise.

Disclosure: AARP Wisconsin contributes to our fund for reporting on Budget Policy & Priorities, Consumer Issues, Health Issues, Senior Issues. If you would like to help support news in the public interest, click here.
Mike Moen, Public News Service - WI