Make Money & Friends: Become a Census Taker in 2020

I recently came across something interesting regarding making money. 

Long story short, I was doing research on student loans (what is new) and I ran across a stat that most people who are behind on student loans aren’t the ones with the most debt…

It’s the student loan borrowers who didn’t finish college or who are taking a break for the time being. Most have difficulty finding a job that pays high enough to cover their living costs and student loan payments. 

As I was editing my 2020 Student Loan Facts article, I realized this: 

What if someone who needed a quick (temporary) job became a census taker in 2020?

So I started doing some leg work and here is what I found out!

How to find a Census Taker Job in 2020!

Before getting into the steps to finding a census taker job in 2020, real quick, I think it is vital to cover the reason why the United States even has a census count. 

Myself, a history teacher, didn’t even know to the full extent as to why the census, that occurs every 10 years, is extremely important! 

Starting in March 2020, the US Census Bureau will start taking a headcount of every person living in the United States. The reason? 

So that the government can equally represent our population in the House of Representatives. 

Not only does the count reflect our population more accurately in terms of representation, a key cog in our democracy, but the count also helps elected officials make more accurate decisions based on populations. 

(Learn more about the US Census in the video above)

For example, a city that was once prosperous in the midwest might have lost 10% of its population over the last 10 years, a key fact a representative would want to know when making decisions for that area! 

That being said, if you’re considering a job as a census taker in 2020, here is how to go about getting one! But first… how much does a census taker job even pay?

[If you’re ready to apply to be a census worker, simply visit 2020census.gov/jobs or you can call 1-800-JOB-2020.]

How much does a census taker make?

The average census taker job will pay $15.00 per hour. 

Depending on your location and job specifics (Supervisor, fieldwork, office manager) can determine how much you make. 

That being said, census takers who work in the field should expect to make $15 per hour. Which leads to this question:

How many hours should I expect to work as a census taker?

Typically, census takers should expect to work up to 40 hours per week and the job can last anywhere from 5 to 10 weeks. 

The number of hours per week and the length of employment depends on demand in the area for census takers. However, in an ideal situation, a census worker could make up to $6,000. 

40 hours per week x $15.00 = $600 per week X 10 weeks = $6,000 gross. 

Once again, it is important to note that being a census worker is a temporary position in most cases, however, it is a very simple way to make $15 per hour and add value to your community. 

Frequently Asked Questions:

How often will I be paid as a census taker?

Census taker employees are paid weekly and typically the first paycheck will take 10-14 days to receive from onboarding. 

Can I be reimbursed for work-related expenses?

People who are census takers in the field can be reimbursed for authorized work expenses like mileage when conducting and fulfilling census job responsibilities! 

Am I paid for my training?

Yes, census takers in 2020 will be paid for their training. The pay rate per hour is slightly lower than the regular hourly rate. 

Are you looking for other ways to make money and maybe being a census worker isn't for you? Consider some of these options: 

  1. Filling out surveys in your spare time
  2. Starting a blog and learning how to become an online entrepreneur
  3. Walking dogs with Rover (Who doesn't love dogs!)

How do you get a census taker job?

Simply apply online here or call to start the process of becoming a census taker for 2020. Keep in mind, like any job with the government there is “Red Tape” to figure out.

However, kudos to the US Census Breau who have made the process pretty simple overall. Here is how to get started.

In order to apply to land a census taker job, you must meet the following criteria: 

  • You are at least 18 years of age
  • You have a valid Social Security number
  • You must have an email address
  • You are a U.S. citizen 
  • You are registered with the Selective Service System (or have an exemption)

Once someone is offered a census taker job, they must be able to pass a criminal background check and review of their criminal records, which includes fingerprinting. 

Demands for census taker jobs include:

  1. Availability to work flexible hours – including days, evenings, and weekends
  2. Have access to a vehicle with a driver’s license (unless public transportation is readily available) 
  3. Access to a device with WiFi to complete the necessary training (you are paid for training)

Once hired, census takers must complete the training then be sworn in on your first day of work! 

[Related: How to Spot a Census Scam]

What is census taker work like & what do they do?

The responsibility of an “Enumerator,” also known as census takers, is to conduct research on behalf of the U.S. Census Bureau. Census takers collect household and demographic information by canvassing their assigned areas. 

Essentially, as a census taker, you should expect to go door to door and complete surveys for each household. The data collected is then used to balance and reapportion representation when necessary. 

When census takers are hired, they can expect their work to be in the field, here are some characteristics:

  • Fieldwork 
  • Flexible hours
  • Some census-taker jobs require night, weekend, or day work 
  • Interview the public 
  • Supervisor positions are less flexible and are determined by shift
  • Census takers work in their local communities 

How long will the job last and when does it start?

Depending on where you live and your community, if you’re able to work as a census taker, you should expect your job to last 5-10 weeks. 

The length of your job depends on numerous factors from the size of the community/area that needs to be canvased to the number of census takers in an area. Census taker jobs can start in March, with most work occurring in the late spring or summer months. 

Keep in mind – census taker work is temporary.

However, if you’re interested in full-time employment, you could look into becoming an employee of the US Census Bureau. 

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Final word on Census Taker Jobs:

At the end of the day, a census take job is a viable option for someone who is:

  1. Temporary unemployed or looking for extra money
  2. Taking a break from college
  3. Looking to add some extra income to their existing job
  4. Interested in meeting people 

A census taker is not a long term viable option for a career, however, making a quick $6,000 in a matter of 10 weeks isn’t bad for someone who just got done with high school or is taking some college classes… or even a retiree who wants to stay active! 

While the chances of getting the door slammed in your face are way less likely than if you were selling pest control products, at the end of the day a census taker does have to go door to door. 

So if you want to get out of your comfort zone or you just like meeting people in your community, consider being a census taker in 2020!

You can help your government and it is a very purposeful way to make some money in 2020!