By Kate Raddatz

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — State recruiters are working to fill thousands of jobs needed to collect the 2020 census.

The census is taken once every decade. This year, there will be an internet and phone survey option in addition to mail, but census workers are needed to follow up with anyone who doesn’t respond.

In the last census taken in 2010, the employment rate in Minnesota hovered between 8% and 10%, but in 20202, unemployment is around 3%, meaning there are fewer workers to go around.

“I had people working for me who were out of work architects, engineers, lawyers and such,” Andrew Virden, director of census operations and engagement, said.

The federal government wants to hire 7,500 census takers in Minnesota for 2020. It’s a part-time job that can pay up to just over $27 an hour to go door-to-door collecting information on residents. You don’t even need a high school diploma.

“You can work as little as five hours a week. You set your own schedule, you set your own hours,” Virden said.

The Minnesota State Demographic Center says college neighborhoods and lower income areas are particularly short on workers. Lake of the Woods County in northern Minnesota has the lowest recruiting fulfillment, at less than 20%. Carver County has over 80%.

Counties will be hosting recruiting events to encourage people to apply and be part of history. The 2020 census data gets handed over to the President at the end of the year. It would then determine if if Minnesota gets to keep its 8th congressional seat and if district boundaries need to be changed.

“We have to get it right,” Virden said. “Because if we get it wrong, we have to live with that error for the next decade.”

In the 2010 census, Minnesota had the second highest participation rate in the country to the surveys. Wisconsin had the most.

The census forms go out in March before the census workers follow up going door to door with anyone missed at the end of April.

Click here for information on applying for census work.

Kate Raddatz