Fulton County prepares for the 2020 Census

GLOVERSVILLE — The United States currently has about 330,250,000 residents.

Fulton County accounts for roughly 55,500 of those people.

But now it’s once again time to take a new fresh look at both places with the 2020 Census, as the 2010 Census is ancient history. A newer count is required by the federal government, another decade having passed.

The office of Fulton County Planning Director Scott Henze has been dealing with the U.S. Census Bureau, responsible for the massive undertaking of providing an accurate population count every 10 years.

“Basically, we’ve been working with the census bureau for a couple of years,” said Henze.

The federal government is also on a push to find census workers willing to go out in the community and come back with some hard data.

The U.S. Census Bureau is seeking thousands of people to assist with the 2020 Census count, and are actively recruiting for census listers and census field supervisors. They are also looking to fill positions including: office operations supervisor, recruiting assistant and office clerk.

These positions provide an opportunity to earn extra income while helping the community. The results of the Census help determine each state’s representation in Congress, as well as how certain funds are spent for schools, hospitals, fire departments, roads, and more. Mileage reimbursement at 58 cents per mile

The count is mandated by the Constitution and conducted by the U.S. Census Bureau, a nonpartisan government agency. The 2020 Census counts the population in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and five U.S. territories: Puerto Rico, American Samoa, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, Guam, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Each home will receive an invitation to respond to a short questionnaire–online, by phone, or by mail. This will mark the first time people will be able to respond to the census online.

By April 1, every home will receive an invitation to participate in the 2020 Census. Once the invitation arrives, people should respond for their home in one of three ways: online, by phone, or by mail.

Henze said the county planning department has assisted with data needed for the U.S. Census Bureau’s Boundary and Annexation Survey. The survey annually collects information about selected legally defined geographic areas. The BAS is used to update information about the legal boundaries and names of all governments.

In addition to the survey, the Fulton County Planning Department has helped with a Local Update of Census Addresses, or LUCA.

Henze said that ever since 2000, the federal government has relied “more and more” on local participation in the process.

LUCA is the only opportunity offered to tribal, state, and local governments to review and comment on the U.S. Census Bureau’s residential address list for their jurisdiction prior to the 2020 Census. The Census Bureau relies on a complete and accurate address list to reach every living quarters and associated population for inclusion in the census. The Census Address List Improvement Act of 1994 (Public Law 103-430) authorizes LUCA.

With LUCA, Henze said the U.S. Census Bureau relies on local officials to reassess parts of the county that will get renewed scrutiny with the 2020 census. He said the bureau needs data from areas of Fulton County “they didn’t get a good response” from in the 2010 Census.

“I provide updates,” Henze said.

According to the bureau, the census provides critical data that lawmakers, business owners, teachers, and many others use to provide daily services, products, and support for communities. Every year, billions of dollars in federal funding goes to hospitals, fire departments, schools, roads, and other resources based on census data. The results of the census also determine the number of seats each state will have in the U.S. House of Representatives, and they are used to draw congressional and state legislative districts.

It’s also in the Constitution: Article 1, Section 2, mandates that the country conduct a count of its population once every 10 years. The 2020 Census will mark the 24th time that the country has counted its population since 1790.

Participating in the census is required by law, even if residents recently completed another survey from the census bureau. A complete and accurate count is critical for communities because the results of the 2020 Census will affect community funding, congressional representation, and more.

Of course the federal government needs census takers, and there is seasonal pay for that work. The jobs pay from $12 an hour to $30 and hour nationwide, depending on the city. The U.S. Census Bureau is recruiting to fill hundreds of thousands of temporary positions across the country to assist with the 2020 Census count.

Interested persons should visit this website: 2020census.gov/jobs.

The bureau is currently recruiting for census workers in Fulton County, who will be paid about $18 per hour. The regional census office in Albany phone number is (518) 389-4556.

No experience or education is required bilingual applicants are encouraged to apply. Spanish, Chinese, and other languages are needed.

To learn more about positions near you, contact your local area Census office at 1-855-JOB-2020 (1-855-562-2020) or use the Federal Relay Service at 1-800-877-8339 (TTY/ASCII).

Census takers’ work schedules are flexible. Some temporary positions require work during the day, while others require evening and weekend work.

Upcoming important dates for the census include April 1, in which “Census Day” is observed nationwide. By this date, every home will receive an invitation to participate in the 2020 Census. When responding to the census, residents need to tell the Census Bureau where they live as of April 1.

During April, census takers will begin visiting college students who live on campus, people living in senior centers, and others who live among large groups of people. Census takers also begin conducting quality check interviews to help ensure an accurate count.

By May, the census bureau begins visiting homes that haven’t responded to the 2020 Census to make sure everyone is counted.

In December, the census bureau delivers apportionment counts to the president and Congress as required by law.

By May 31, 2021, the census bureau will send redistricting counts to states. This information is used to redraw legislative districts based on population changes.

Michael Anich covers Johnstown and Fulton County news. He can be reached at manich@leaderherald.com.