Census form

Communities across the U.S. are preparing for the 2020 census. The city of Boise will put local funds toward a campaign to encourage residents to complete the survey.

BOISE — Idaho is in need of roughly 9,000 employees to work for the U.S. Census Bureau as census takers.

Nationwide, the U.S. Census Bureau needs about 2.7 million workers, said Michael Hall, assistant regional census manager through the Los Angeles Regional Census Center. Hall met with the Idaho State Complete Count Committee Wednesday to discuss job recruitment and hard-to-count groups.

The Census Bureau will be recruiting employees through February. Hall said the Boise Census office hopes more than 13,000 people apply for census jobs but expects to hire only around 9,000.

“We try to hire local people who are familiar with their areas, to go in and work there,” Hall said.

People can apply for census jobs at 2020census.gov/en/jobs. Census takers are paid $13.50 to $14.50 in Ada County and $13.50 in Canyon County, according to the site.

The Idaho Complete Count Committee is one of several such committees across the country and is made up of local organizations, legislators and public officials. The committee aims to come up with ways to ensure every Idaho resident is counted in the 2020 census.

The Idaho committee was created by Gov. Brad Little with a goal to exceed a 76% statewide response rate. The committee met in July to establish subcommittees to target hard-to-count groups such as immigrant communities, Latinos, families without internet access, the homeless and elderly.

During Wednesday’s meeting, each subcommittee gave an update on outreach efforts.

Kay Seven, director of adult/higher education for the Nez Perce Tribe, said the tribe is working on creating its own local Complete Count Committee to make sure tribal members respond to the census.

Seven said the Nez Perce Tribe is the only one she knows of in Idaho that has a Complete Count Committee of its own.

“This makes me concerned for other tribal communities in Idaho,” she said.

Hailey Townsend, communication assistant with the Community Planning Association of Southwest Idaho, or Compass, created a website to promote the census to Canyon and Ada County residents.

The website has Treasure Valley-specific information and national census information.

The Boise City Council agreed last month to spend $100,000 of its own funds on the census to make sure as many people within city limits as possible respond to the survey.

Nampa city officials are working to form a Nampa Complete Count Committee and will hold local open houses and educational campaigns for the census, city spokesperson Amy Bowman said in an email.

A national census staff member will present to the Nampa City Council Monday, Bowman added.

The city of Caldwell did not immediately respond to requests for comment on their citywide census efforts.

Wendy Jaquet, former state legislator and co-chairwoman of the Idaho Complete Count Committee, asked the committee to set a goal of having 35 out of 45 Idaho counties create local Complete Count Committees of their own.

CONCERN WITH MAIL BOXESJaquet brought up a new concern about the number of P.O. boxes people use in Idaho. The U.S. Census Bureau will not deliver to P.O. boxes because they are not attached to home addresses.

The Census Bureau will mail out invitations to people asking them to respond to the online census starting March 12. The bureau plans to send invitations to 95% of U.S. households.

According to a census document, about 5% of households will get their census invitations when a census taker drops them off. This tactic is reserved for areas where the majority of households may not receive mail at their homes’ physical locations because people have P.O. boxes or live in areas that have been impacted by natural disasters.

From March 12 to April 1, people will be asked to respond to the online 2020 census. Census officials estimate the 10-question census will take 10 minutes, Hall said.

From May through July 2020, census workers will conduct in-person follow-ups with households that did not respond.

Rachel Spacek is the Latino Affairs and Canyon County reporter for the Idaho Press. You can reach her at rspacek@idahopress.com. Follow her on twitter @RachelSpacek.

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