With the 2020 U.S. census approaching, the Wood River Valley needs all the help it can get to make sure all residents are counted.
“This has been the hardest valley to count, due to a high number of second-home owners and the Postal Service not receiving government funding,” Wood River Valley census recruiter Mary Kimball said. “Forms will be delivered to homes but not P.O. boxes, so we need foot soldiers to go out to the people.”
In March, the Census Bureau will begin mailing out participation invitations to most residential addresses across the country. Census-takers will then follow up in May with homeowners who did not respond via phone or mail, leaving doorhangers for those not present.
In the Wood River Valley, however, census-takers will need to make the rounds on foot to deliver forms.
“The census is so important to our community,” Kimball said. “Population count is critical for government funding, for everything from bridges to roads. Last [census], Idaho missed 31,000 people. That’s millions in government aid.”
Kimball said the valley is particularly in need of bilingual census-takers, especially Spanish speakers.
“We’re really making a concerted effort to reach out and get people counted properly,” she said.
All census takers will receive $16 per hour and 58 cents per mile for gas reimbursement.
It’s important that people apply now because it takes up to two months for background clearance, Kimball said.
All census data collected is confidential and answers can only be used to produce statistics—by law, information cannot be shared with immigration or law enforcement agencies. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, census-takers will never ask for someone’s social security number, bank account, credit card numbers or political affiliation, and any of those questions are indicative of a scam.
To apply to help with the census, visit recruitment.2020census.gov.