A nonprofit publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

The U.S. Census Bureau needs workers, and lots of them; pay is $18.50 an hour in Kenton County

Need a job? The U.S. Census Bureau is hiring temporary help for late spring and summer so it can make sure that the 2020 Census is as complete and accurate as possible.

Hours are flexible, the pay is $18.50 an hour in Kenton County, training includes pay, and there are no specific education requirements.

And the best thing is … the Census needs LOTS of people.

“We are currently accepting as many applications as possible – actually the number of applications we have is well below where it needs to be right now,” said Jerry Weigand, a recruiting assistant with the U.S. Census Bureau.

Census takers will primarily be walking door to door, reminding people about the Census, encouraging people to fill out the form, and helping them if necessary. The work will begin in early May and last all summer.

Typically, Census takers work in neighborhoods that they’re familiar with, Weigand said.

“The Bureau tends to put individuals within their communities in order to reduce apprehension when knocking on doors and just to make them more comfortable,” he said.

You must be at least 18 years old to get a job, but if you are 17 you can still apply as long as you turn 18 while the Census is going on, he said.

Starting pay for a Census taker job begins at $17 in Campbell County and at $18.50 an hour in Kenton and Boone counties, plus reimbursement for travel at 58 cents a mile.

Weigand said that because of a special waiver issued for Kentucky and other states, income from Census jobs will not affect the eligibility status of people who receive various benefits, including the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP).

The website to apply is here.

An accurate Census count is critical in Covington: The City could stand to lose almost $22 million over the next 10 years if the 2020 Census is no more successful than the 2010 Census in making sure every Covington resident is counted, officials say.

Some 13 percent of Covington’s budget comes from direct federal funding that’s allocated based on population counts, the City’s Neighborhood Services director, Ken Smith, said recently.

What’s that money used for?

Everything from emergency home repairs to down payment assistance for first-time homebuyers to first-year rent help for small businesses to park renovation, road repair, and neighborhood-specific police patrols.

In 2010, Census officials say many areas of Covington were undercounted by as much as 30 percent. If the same thing happens in 2020, the City stands to lose out on $2.16 million a year in federal funding, or about $720,000 for every 10 percent of undercount, Smith said.

Toward that end, communities across the country – including Covington – have created Complete Count Committees to find creative ways to “educate and motivate” people about the need to be counted.

One key message: The confidentiality of Census information. The information collected about individuals cannot be divulged or shared, under penalty of the law, Census officials say.

City of Covington

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