2020 Census "Critical" for Development

County beginning to recruit census takers

(By Sara Barker sbarker@kpcmedia.com  Shared with permission from KPC Media.)

KENDALLVILLE — More citizens means more money. And to know how many citizens there are, you have to go out and count them.

With the 2020 census approaching, the Census Bureau is prioritizing attracting people to sign up to be census takers, or people who are paid to go around their communities, knock on doors and record responses from their neighbors.

This week was recruitment week, a time where census representatives encourage local governments to motivate their communities to apply to the job.

These census takers, or enumerators, play a crucial role in making sure their communities are accounted for, since they record responses from people who haven’t already filled out the census online, by mail or by phone.

Right now in Noble County, efforts to recruit census takers are in early stages. At an Economic Development Corporation meeting Wednesday morning, elected officials and EDC members alike chatted about what they could do.

EDC Marketing Director Lori Gagen said the discussion was mainly to make everyone aware that recruitment should be a focus, since it ties in so closely with finances.

“It is just absolutely critical for infrastructure and ongoing development that everyone be counted,” Gagen said.

Gagen said Kendallville Mayor Suzanne Handshoe brought up the topic, since she had previously met with a census representative.

“We didn’t really talk about census takers as much as how important the census is,” Handshoe said of her meeting with the representative.

The representative told Handshoe that right now, it’s indicated that 26% of Kendallville residents won’t get counted.

“It is just absolutely critical for infrastructure and ongoing development that everyone be counted,” Handshoe said.

Nonprofits that apply for grants to better cities around the county use census numbers to prove population size, too, making the census all the more important.

That figure is one Ligonier Mayor Patty Fisel told her officials about at a board of works meeting this week, saying she will begin looking into putting together a census committee.

“Everyone who lives in the city has to be counted,” Fisel said. “Every head has to be counted.”

She said she didn’t know what that figure would be for Ligonier, but she acknowledged that her town would need more Spanish-speaking census takers because of the large Latino population there.

While census takers are still needed, Handshoe also emphasized the importance of individuals responding to mailed forms and phone calls from the Census Bureau. And, if a census taker knocks on their door, people should not hesitate to answer it, she said.

The Census Bureau website says those who are accepted as census takers in Noble County will earn $14 per hour and be reimbursed for mileage at 58 cents per mile.

Right now, the Census Bureau is trying to hire half a million census takers nationwide.

To be a census taker, you must have an email and access to the internet and have a method of transportation. Shifts vary, but can include evening and weekend hours.

Visit census.gov/jobs to apply.

For resources locally, and updates, follow Count Noble 2020 Census on Facebook.