MEMPHIS, Tenn. - More than 1,000 people will soon be hired in Shelby County by the U.S. Census.
Those jobs are temporary, but the impact of the Census county will affect a decade of dollars.
“I know some people look at this as redistricting data – and that matters – but really, it’s funding,” said Mauricio Calvo, executive director for Latino Memphis.
The 2020 Census has been mired with controversy since the proposal of a citizenship question. That question will not appear on the Census, but there is still some worry about participation rates for the Census.
Calvo said less participation means a less accurate count of residents.
“I think people will continue to be hesitant and I think that’s unfortunate,” said Calvo.
The 2010 Census listed Shelby County with more than 927,000 residents. Less than 41% of residents were white, 52% were African American and under 6% were Hispanic.
The 2018 Census estimates bumped Shelby County’s population up slightly by 8,000 people, with a slight increase to white residents, a 2% increase in African American residents and about a 1% increase in Hispanic residents.
Calvo said the Census needs to work on community engagement to work on trust with communities of color. One way, he said, is through this hiring process.
“I think hiring people that look and talk like the people they are trying to interview – whether it’s Latinos, African Americans, whites – I think the diversity of the team is going to be important,” said Calvo.
A spokesperson for the 2020 Census said that workers “will be needed between now and summer of 2020 for different jobs. A worker may be hired for a week at a time or longer, depending on the workload.”
The U.S. Census Bureau will open an Area Census Office in Memphis to serve West Tennessee, according to the U.S Census.
“For the first time, people will have an option to respond to the census online as well as by phone or in writing. The more people who self-respond to the census when it opens in March, the fewer workers we will need to visit homes to follow-up,” said a spokesperson for the U.S Census.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, a recruiter will be available to talk about employment opportunities at the East Shelby Branch Library on September 18 from 10AM to 1PM and on September 25 from 10 AM to 2 PM.
U.S. Census Bureau statement on the effect of 2020 Census:
Because a nationwide count of every single person living in the United States and its territories only occurs every ten years, every time it takes place it is extremely important. The results of the decennial census affect individuals and communities for the next decade in how they are represented in our government and in how more than $675 billion in public funds are distributed back to local communities to support services everyone uses such as roads, health care, education and public safety. We need involvement from the entire community to ensure that we count everyone once, only once, and in the right place. An accurate census count of Shelby County will help ensure that residents are represented in government appropriately, that leaders can plan effectively to meet local needs, and that the county and cities receive the funding they deserve.
The 2020 Census is important to everyone living in this country. We are working to ensure that everyone understands that responses to the 2020 Census are safe, secure and required by federal law to be kept strictly confidential. Responses can only be aggregated with other data to produce statistics. Individuals’ responses will not be shared with any other agency and cannot be used for law enforcement purposes. The Census Bureau is hiring local people from within our community to assist in gathering responses to the 2020 Census from everyone who lives here. In addition, the Census Bureau is executing a robust Integrated Partnership and Communications operation with partnership staff hired locally to find and work with trusted voices in the community so they can help us reach and motivate the various hard-to-count groups.
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