Census count benefits Sun Cities

Jobs remain available to take information

Posted 2/18/20

Sun Cities residents still have time to find a job with the U.S. Census Bureau as the agency’s officials prepare for the decade population count.

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Census count benefits Sun Cities

Jobs remain available to take information

Posted

Sun Cities residents still have time to find a job with the U.S. Census Bureau as the agency’s officials prepare for the decade population count.

The 2020 Census is going to kick off soon and bureau officials are in the process of hiring 500,000 census takers nationwide. About 14,000 of those positions are in Arizona, according to Nuvia Enriquez, U.S. Census Bureau media specialist.

“Our ability to fill these jobs in Arizona can make a huge difference in our ability to get a complete count in the state,” she stated in an email.

These jobs are part-time, flexible and very well-paying, according to Ms. Enriquez. In Maricopa County, these jobs pay $19.50 per hour plus mileage.

Census recruitment efforts will be in full swing until Saturday, Feb. 29, Ms. Enriquez stated. Paid training will be conducted in March and April, she added.

To apply visit 2020census.gov/jobs.

The census is a constitutional mandate that a complete count of the country’s population is carried out every 10 years.

“It is everyone’s civic duty to complete the 2020 census,” Ms. Enriquez stated.

People can start self-responding to the census online and on the phone as of March 12, according to Ms. Enriquez. Census-takers will start knocking on the doors of those who have not self-responded in May.

Some people discount the census, believing it does not benefit them. However, area officials believe the census count is important enough to put a great amount of time into ensuring an accurate population count. Census officials encourage communities, including those in unincorporated areas, to form census counts committees to spread the word in their communities.

Recreation Centers of Sun City officials were asked to form such a committee last year but did not. While Sun City does not have such a committee, Sun City West does.

“We were approached and did create one,” Katy O’Grady, Recreation Centers of Sun City West general services officer, stated in an email. “RCSCW chairs it but we have lots of community partners helping. We have developed an action plan with ideas from the partners.”

While Sun City West has historically been a high-reporting community, committee officials will target two specific groups of concern — homebound and isolated elderly, and Canadians and other winter visitors who may be unsure where to report.

A full and accurate census count can make a large difference in what services Sun Cities residents receive, according to Ms. O’Grady.

“It has to do with federal dollars for services that benefit our residents, veterans, etc.,” she stated.

According to Fields Moseley, Maricopa County communications director, that is true for municipalities as well as the county. People living in Sun Cities or similar communities might be using Medicare or other health care programs funded with federal dollars. Road, highway and other infrastructure projects are often funded with federal dollars.

“The county benefits through funding in the sense that tax-dollars and grant funding usually follow population and/or need,” he explained.

According to the census website, the state of Arizona receives about $3,000 per person in federal funding each year.

“Some of that goes to county agencies,” Mr. Moseley stated.

That includes schools, hospitals, health care, roads, community services and others, he added.

“Just a 1% undercount could mean the loss of $62 million per year for 10 years,” Mr. Moseley stated. 

The state also stands to gain another representative in Congress due to population growth.

Communities handle the census differently, depending on their approach, according to Mr. Moseley. Some cities host a lot of community events that give them direct access to residents, while others have large social media and email subscriber lists, he explained.

Maricopa County has a little more than 300,000 people living in unincorporated areas. County officials chose to help the Census Bureau by supporting the broader communication efforts and specifically focusing on hard-to-count populations that utilize services provided by Public Health Services, Human Services, the Library District, etc., Mr. Moseley explained. “Those offices work directly with non-profit organizations, clients and other governments to reach people who need services,” Mr. Moseley stated. “We have already provided digital collateral, such as social media messaging and website graphics, and we are in the process of printing posters and other collateral.”

County officials are in the awareness phase of the campaign and will soon shift to encouraging action in mid-March. “Almost every residence in the county will be receiving a letter from the Census Bureau in March with their online code they can use to submit their answers,” Mr. Moseley stated. “They can also call or fill out a paper version of the census this time around.”

Residents can use census data to support community initiatives involving legislation, quality-of-life and consumer advocacy, according to Ms. Enriquez. Census data also informs where real estate developers choose to start new projects whether communities are incorporated or not.

Participation in the 2020 census ensures that people in age-restricted communities get the services they need; services like Medicare, first responders, supportive housing for the elderly, libraries, community centers and many others, according to Ms. Enriquez.

Sun Cities residents might receive state benefits or be on Social Security. For those Sun Cities residents who want to work for the census there are waivers for state benefits, however, there is no waiver for Social Security benefits.

“If a person works more hours than allowed it might effect them,” Ms. Enriquez stated.  

In-person census-takers will have a valid ID badge with their photo, a U.S. Department of Commerce watermark and an expiration date. They will also carry a bag with the official census logo. If people have questions about the census-taker’s identity, they can call 800-923-8282 to speak with a local Census Bureau representative and verify their identity.

Responses to the census are completely confidential. Under title 13 of the U.S. Code, the U.S. Census Bureau cannot share census data with any other person, organization, court, business or government agency.

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