Counting Everybody – 2020 Census Jobs

by Erik Knoder

December 5, 2019

The U.S. Census Bureau is still taking applications from Oregonians who want to work on the 2020 Census. Their goal is to get about 27,000 applicants in Oregon who want to work on the 2020 Census. Most positions are for Census enumerators, but there are a few other specialty and office management positions open such as media specialists, recruiting managers, geographers, census field managers, and, of course, information technology managers. Most positions are field, or home-based, positions, but the management and technical positions will be based in the three area offices in Salem, Eugene, and Portland. All positions are temporary.

There are several ways to apply for jobs for the 2020 Census. The most direct way is to use the internet link to 2020 Census Jobs or go to You can also contact your local Oregon Employment Department office and request assistance. Job applicants will apply online and should have their detailed work history, education, and personal history prepared. The application process goes through the USAJobs website and applicants will need to create a secure account.

Much of the actual field work for the 2020 Census will be done by Census takers, also known as enumerators. During the summer of 2019 they checked addresses to ensure that Census forms are mailed correctly. (Years ago your author did this for a few weeks between college terms. It was actually quite fun to learn about different areas of the town.) During the summer of 2020, the Census takers/enumerators will collect census information from people who didn’t return completed Census 2020 forms by mail. Employment will probably peak again during the summer of 2020.

Because the Census Bureau doesn’t know how many people will not return a completed Census 2020 form next summer, they don’t know exactly how many people will be hired, but they expect that the Census Bureau will need to staff about 7,500 positions throughout the state. At the peak of the 2010 Census the Census Bureau employed about 6,400 people to work on it in Oregon. At last summer’s peak of 2020 Census employment in August 2019, the Census Bureau had a total of 482 employees spread over 35 of Oregon’s 36 counties. The number of employees remained about the same in September but dropped in the fall to a level of 124 employees in November. As of early November, the Oregon Employment Department still had almost 350 open job listings for the 2020 Census. The Census Bureau expects to need about 250 people to fully staff the three area offices throughout the 2020 Census. There were listings for enumerators, office clerks, supervisors, and recruiting assistants. The listings were from Multnomah, Washington, Clackamas, Deschutes, Lincoln, and Douglas counties.

The Census Bureau has already set wages for the Census taker positions though, and they vary by county. Pay rates are published on the Census Bureau website for all Oregon counties. The pay in Multnomah County is $18.00 per hour. Jobs in counties in the Willamette Valley and along the north coast generally paid $17.50 per hour. Elsewhere in the state the same jobs paid $14.50 per hour. Wages have also been set for a few other positions and offices. Office clerks will make $13.50 to $14.50 per hour, office operations supervisors will make $17.50 to $18.50 per hour.

Working for the Census Bureau provides an opportunity to help make the 2020 Census an accurate and complete count. There are many reasons our nation needs to be counted completely and accurately. The count happens every 10 years and it influences how more than $675 billion from more than 100 federal programs are distributed to states and localities each year. The 2020 Census numbers will effect Medicaid, school lunch programs, community development grants, road and school construction, medical services, and business locations.

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