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:
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