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How Do I Become a Census Taker?

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  • Written By: Ron Marr
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 03 July 2014
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Every ten years, the United States government takes a national census of its citizens. As a result, literally hundreds of thousands of individuals will be hired to assist in compiling data. Almost anyone can become a census taker, as long as he fulfills a few simple requirements, passes a test, has transportation, and can work 10 to 20 hours per week. For many, the opportunity to become a census taker provides a good source of short-term income.

To become a census taker you must be a US citizen, and be capable of reading, writing, and speaking English. You must be 18 years old, have a Social Security number and driver’s license, and pass both a background check and basic skills test. If you meet these criteria and are hired, you will be given four days of paid training. After this, you will become a census taker in either a house-to house, data-collection capacity or perhaps even a supervisory position.

If you have a full-time job, you may still be able to become a census worker. Students, retirees, those who are without employment, or people who have full-time jobs but wish to make a little extra money often seek the position. The best way to apply to become a census worker is to visit the website of the US Census Bureau. There you will find toll-free job numbers, numbers for your local census office, and information on job availability in your particular area.

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The US Census Bureau almost always places census workers in the communities in which they live. Pay for the job will vary by geographic criteria. Not everyone who applies to become a census taker will be offered a job, as there are generally more applicants than there are available positions. Being bilingual will improve your chances, particularly if you are fluent in Spanish. On occasion, if a specific language skill is required, non-citizens with a legal work visa are hired as census workers.

Countries other than the United States also utilize a census to gather information on citizens. Some countries, such as Australia and Canada, conduct a census every five years. Most other countries either hold a census every ten years or have no set pattern. The number of questions asked of citizens can be extensive, or may consist of nothing but a head count. The years in which different countries hold their census varies widely, as does the existence of possible job opportunities.

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