Need cash? Census takers earn $15 an hour |

Need cash? Census takers earn $15 an hour

A recession is a good time for Betty Pearson to find people wanting to work for the 2010 U.S. Census.

Pearson is recruiting census takers in Nevada County until the end of March. The pay is $15 for the people who knock on the doors of homes that have not returned their 2010 Census forms.

The number of households that don’t return the forms will dictate how much work is generated for the census takers in the late spring, summer and early fall, Pearson said Monday.

“People will work 20 to 40 hours per week and from two to six weeks,” by Census estimates, Pearson said. “No one knows yet how much work will be created.”

Workers will go to homes in the evening and on weekends so that residents won’t be missed, Pearson said. Hiring is underway now, she added.

“You’re hired on a test score and where you live,” Pearson said. Military veterans receive a preference.

The test is basic reading, writing and finding your way on a map – all skills needed for gathering information, Pearson said.

Some western Nevada County residents could work in the Truckee area, but the census tries to keep people local, Pearson said.

The census is taken every 10 years to set the districts equitably for the U.S. House of Representatives and secondarily for the formula for allocating funds to states, Pearson said. Census information is used all over the world for trends and demographic data.

People don’t have to return the census forms that will come to them in the mail the next few weeks, but the Census Bureau estimates every household that doesn’t causes its district to lose $1,000 in federal funds, Pearson said.

“Without the numbers, you don’t get the appropriations,” when Congress is giving out money for highway projects and other federal programs, Pearson said.

Census takers are paid for four hours of training, and recruits have been taking tests in Grass Valley at Eskaton Village off Ridge Road and the One Stop Business and Career Center on Maltman Drive. To schedule a test, call 1-866-861-2010 and the U.S. Census will line you up with Pearson and a test time.

Potential census takers can also find out more at the federal Web site, Pearson said.

“I encourage people to check the Web site and make sure this is what they want,” Pearson said.

To contact Senior Staff Writer Dave Moller, e-mail or call (530) 477-4237.

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