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Census Staffing Up Workers In Montana Ahead Of April 1 Count

With less than a month to go before the U.S. Census Bureau kicks off its headcount of every person in the country, Montana has only hired half of the workers it says it needs. The bureau is still seeking temporary workers leading up to census day on Apr. 1.

There are currently 2,400 projected temporary workers for Montana’s census, though no one has been officially hired yet.

4,000 enumerators going door-to-door is the bureau’s hiring goal.

U.S. Census Spokesperson of Montana Josh Manning says that if this number isn't met by the census day, workers from nearby locations will travel to areas that are lacking.

“You may have someone from Missoula show up in Bozeman to help out there," Manning says. "So we’ll at least be in a situation where I hope we can have Montanans counting Montanans. But in the past, what they’ve had to do is ship in people from other states from like Washington or New Jersey or Texas which may have had a good count and are done. So they send them up to Montana or North Dakota or Wyoming or Mississippi or somewhere else to make sure that those rural places get counted.”

He says that partnerships with groups like Western Native Voice have already made a difference in areas that in past census years proved hard to count.

“Every tribal nation here in Montana has met or exceeded the recruiting goals we put out, which has been astounding. That just speaks to the organization and to the spirit and to the understanding of all of our tribes in Montana that this is super important and that if we don’t get in at the beginning, they're going to get left behind in the end," Manning says.

Manning says a more accurate count of Montana’s population may result in another seat in the U.S. House of Representatives, along with an additional $2,000 a year in state funding for each resident counted.

New this year, people will be able to respond to the census online.

An ID number will be sent out in the mail for online access starting Mar. 12.

The U.S. Census Bureau is still hiring temporary workers for this year's count. More information is available here.


Copyright 2020 Yellowstone Public Radio

Eric Young
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