Census Jobs FAQs

We understand that questions can arise throughout the hiring process and even after completing your work with the 2020 Census.

To assist you, we’ve provided answers here for some of the questions we see most often. If your question is not listed below, please call 1-855-JOB-2020 (1-855-562-2020) and press 1 for technical help with your application or press 3 to reach your area census office. You may also use the Federal Relay Service at 1-800-877-8339 for TTY/ASCII. 

Job Details

Job Descriptions

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The U.S. Census Bureau hired applicants for various positions to help conduct the 2020 Census, including census taker, census field supervisor, recruiting assistant, clerk, and office operations supervisor. The application period for these jobs is now closed.  The Census Bureau will continue to hire for a limited number of census taker and census field supervisor positions. There will be a limited number of positions for Post-Enumeration Survey operations available over the next year. Those positions will be filled using the current applicant pool. Visit Post-Employment Resources for information about jobs, training, and other employment services.

Most positions are anticipated to last several weeks, but employment may end at any time or hours of work may be reduced if there is a lack of available work.

Positions are throughout the United States and Puerto Rico. Contact your census office for more information. Call 1-855-JOB-2020 (1-855-562-2020) and select option 3; when prompted, enter your ZIP code to be routed to your census office. You may also use the Federal Relay Service at 1-800-877-8339 for TTY/ASCII.

Generally, hours for field positions are flexible. Some field positions require you to work during the day so you can see addresses on buildings. Other field positions require you to interview members of the public, so you must be available to work evenings and weekends, when people are usually at home. Supervisory positions require employees to be available for certain day, evening, and/or weekend shifts.

Field positions require interviewing members of the public, so employees must be available to work when people are usually at home, such as in the evening and on weekends. 

Jobs for the 2020 Census offer competitive wages, which are paid weekly, as well as paid training. In addition, employees doing fieldwork are reimbursed for authorized work-related expenses such as mileage.

Temporary 2020 Census employees are paid weekly through direct deposit or a paycheck in the mail. They can expect to receive their first paycheck 10 to 14 days after their first day of work, and they will receive subsequent paychecks every seven days.

Yes, field employees will be reimbursed for authorized work expenses such as mileage incurred while conducting census work.

Positions for the 2020 Census are temporary. However, you can visit the Census Careers page or USAJobs site to search for permanent employment with the Census Bureau. Visit Post-Employment Resources for more information about jobs, training, and other employment services.

Job Qualifications

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The U.S. Census Bureau is an equal opportunity employer. Please contact your census office for more information. Call 1-855-JOB-2020 (1-855-562-2020) and select option 3; when prompted, enter your ZIP code to be routed to your census office. You may also use the Federal Relay Service at 1-800-877-8339 for TTY/ASCII. 

Applicants who are bilingual in English and other languages will be considered for positions. However, all hires in the 50 states and Washington, D.C., must be able to speak, read, and write in English.

In Puerto Rico, applicants who do not speak English, but do speak Spanish, can be hired as census takers. However, other positions in Puerto Rico require applicants to be fluent in English and Spanish. 

Consistent with law, the Census Bureau hires noncitizen translators as census takers who are legally entitled to work in the U.S. on an as-needed basis during 2020 peak field operations, if there are no available citizens who can be hired with the necessary non-English language skills. As a point of reference, during the 2010 Census more than 700,000 people were hired to conduct the census and less than 4,000 noncitzen translators were hired. Census Bureau recruiting and hiring systems will be updated consistent with based on this approach.

If you are a veteran who served on active duty in the U.S. armed forces and were separated under honorable conditions, you may be eligible for veterans’ preference. With veterans’ preference, you may receive preference over nonveteran applicants in the hiring process.

When claiming veterans’ preference, you must provide a copy of your DD-214, Certificate of Release or Discharge from Active Duty, or other acceptable documentation. Applicants claiming 10-point preference will need to submit Form SF-15 and related supporting documentation. You can find the SF-15 here.

For more information, visit the U.S. Office of Personnel Management's Veterans’ Preference page

There is no cap on the age for employment. However, you must be at least 18 years or older to be hired for all positions.

 

Special Circumstances for Candidates

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Appropriations law requires that federal employees must be U.S. citizens. The appropriations law permits the hiring of noncitizen translators as census takers if there are no available citizens who can be hired with the necessary non-English language skills. Consistent with law, the Census Bureau will hire noncitizen translators who are legally entitled to work in the U.S. on an as-needed basis during the 2020 Census. As a point of reference, during the 2010 Census more than 700,000 people were hired to conduct the census and less than 4,000 noncitizen translators were hired. Census Bureau recruiting and hiring systems will be updated based on this approach.

 

Returning Applicants

Updating Your Application and Checking Your Status

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Selected applicants are candidates who have been offered a job and accepted the offer. Selected applicants must complete the background check process and report to work before they are officially hired. They are hired when they are sworn in and have taken the oath of office, which usually happens on the first day on the job.

There are a variety of reasons a candidate might be ineligible for a position. Contact your area census office for more information. Call 1-855-JOB-2020 (1-855-562-2020) and select option 3; when prompted, enter your ZIP code to be routed to your local office. You may also use the Federal Relay Service at 1-800-877-8339 for TTY/ASCII.

In some cases, ineligible applicants may become eligible if their status changes. For example, some applicants are ineligible because they are under age 18. Once they turn 18 years old, they can be considered.

If you have been fingerprinted and something in your background check made you ineligible, you can learn more by contacting the Census Investigative Service at 1-301-763-2622 or 1-877-591-3755, Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. ET.

If you move after you have received a job offer, the offer may be withdrawn. However, 2020 Census jobs are available across the country. Contact your area census office for more information. Call 1-855-JOB-2020 (1-855-562-2020) and select option 3; when prompted, enter your ZIP code to be routed to your area census office. You may also use the Federal Relay Service at 1-800-877-8339 for TTY/ASCII.

Contact your census office. Call 1-855-JOB-2020 (1-855-562-2020) and select option 3; when prompted, enter your ZIP code to be routed to your local office. You may also use the Federal Relay Service at 1-800-877-8339 for TTY/ASCII. You should also consider contacting the local police department if you suspect someone is using your personal information.

 

Job Interviews

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No, not all qualified applicants will be interviewed.

Your interview will be conducted by phone.

Your interviewer may call at different times of the day, including evening hours.

The interviewer is instructed to leave a voice message that includes a callback number; however, an interviewer will attempt to reach you later. You can contact your area census office to follow up. Call 1-855-JOB-2020 (1-855-562-2020) and select option 3; when prompted, enter your ZIP code to be routed to your area census office. You may also use the Federal Relay Service at 1-800-877-8339 for TTY/ASCII.

We do not guarantee positions. However, you may be contacted again if another position becomes available in your area.

All interviews are conducted by phone.

 

Job Offers

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Employees are eligible for health insurance based on the position for which they are hired. If you are offered a position, you may inquire about health insurance at that time.

Typically, job offers are accepted or declined at the time of the interview.

You may have another job while working on the 2020 Census as long as your job does not present a conflict of interest. Active-duty military members cannot work for the Census Bureau.

If you decline a job offer you will be placed back into the applicant pool for all positions for which you qualify. If you decline job offers three times, you will be removed from the applicant pool.

You can be hired for only one position at a time, but you can be considered for additional work if it becomes available in your area.

Contact your census office for more information. Call 1-855-JOB-2020 (1-855-562-2020) and select option 3; when prompted, enter your ZIP code to be routed to your local office. You may also use the Federal Relay Service at 1-800-877-8339 for TTY/ASCII.

Once you decline a job offer, you cannot accept it at a later date. Your application will be returned to the applicant pool and you may be offered another job at a later time.

Job offers cannot be delayed. However, if you are offered a job and are not available for work until a later date, please inform the interviewer. Your status will be updated and you may be considered after the stated date if work is available.

Not all qualified applicants are offered a job. If you have received a verbal job offer and have not received a job offer letter by email, please contact your census office. Call 1-855-JOB-2020 (1-855-562-2020) and select option 3; when prompted, enter your ZIP code to be routed to your census office. You may also use the Federal Relay Service at 1-800-877-8339 for TTY/ASCII.

The information on your application is used to evaluate your fit for a specific opening. Some applicants are a better fit for positions than others. Not all qualified applicants will be hired.

Background Check

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Yes, employment is contingent upon successfully completing a background check.

All candidates who receive a tentative job offer from the Census Bureau will be required to have their fingerprints taken. Furthermore, candidates applying for certain positions will be required to complete a background questionnaire. The Census Bureau takes public trust seriously and is working to ensure that temporary workers undergo the most accurate background checks possible. Thus, all employees are fingerprinted and the fingerprint images are submitted to the FBI for processing.

It is the selected applicant’s responsibility to fill out and print all required forms and bring them to their appointment. Applicants will receive information about how to access the forms via email.

Applicants won’t be reimbursed for printing their background forms.

Applicants won’t be reimbursed for travel to that appointment.

Applicants may contact the Census Investigative Services at 1-301-763-2622 or 1-877-591-3755, Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. ET. You may also use the Federal Relay Service at 1-800-877-8339 for TTY/ASCII.

Contact your area census office for more information. Call 1-855-JOB-2020 (1-855-562-2020) and select option 3; when prompted, enter your ZIP code to be routed to your area census office. You may also use the Federal Relay Service at 1-800-877-8339 for TTY/ASCII.

Attempt to obtain or locate the requested information or contact the Census Investigative Services at 1-301-763-2622 or 1-877-591-3755, Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. ET, for assistance. You may also use the Federal Relay Service at 1-800-877-8339 for TTY/ASCII.

Yes, provided you requested an extension prior to the deadline. Contact the Census Investigative Services at 1-301-763-2622 or at 1-877-591-3755, Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. ET, for assistance. You may also use the Federal Relay Service at 1-800-877-8339 for TTY/ASCII.

Once the reviewers receive a complete security package, the background check results will be determined as quickly as possible. Contact the Census Investigative Services at 1-301-763-2622 or at 1-877-591-3755, Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. ET, for assistance. You may also use the Federal Relay Service at 1-800-877-8339 for TTY/ASCII.

Applicants will not receive a copy of their background check results. If the Census Bureau receives adverse information in your security package, you will be given an opportunity to address the matter.

This could mean that adverse information was received in your background check or that clarification is required based on your response to a specific question. Instructions will be provided if you are contacted for additional information.

The Census Bureau considers your criminal conduct in determining your suitability for a position, but there are no general prohibitions on hiring you. The Census Bureau considers a number of relevant factors, such as the duties associated with any positions you applied for, the nature of the misconduct and how recent it was, and any evidence of rehabilitation. It is important to provide all the required information about your criminal record when it is requested.

 

Fingerprinting Appointment

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Upon selection, you will receive contact information by email for fingerprinting. If you have not received this information, please contact your census office for more information. Call 1-855-JOB-2020 (1-855-562-2020) and select option 3; when prompted, enter your ZIP code to be routed to your census office. You may also use the Federal Relay Service at 1-800-877-8339 for TTY/ASCII.

There is no cost to you for fingerprinting services.

The employment confirmation letter you receive by email will contain a list of acceptable identification documents.

You will be turned away if you do not bring the proper identification described in the employment confirmation letter.

No. Employment is contingent upon successfully completing a background check, which includes providing fingerprints.

Please contact your census office for more information. Call 1-855-JOB-2020 (1-855-562-2020) and select option 3; when prompted, enter your ZIP code to be routed to your census office. You may also use the Federal Relay Service at 1-800-877-8339 for TTY/ASCII.

 

Training

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Rescheduling training is generally not possible. However, you can contact your census office about rescheduling. Call 1-855-JOB-2020 (1-855-562-2020) and select option 3; when prompted, enter your ZIP code to be routed to your census office. You may also use the Federal Relay Service at 1-800-877-8339 for TTY/ASCII.

Generally, reimbursement for training related expenses (mileage, parking, tolls, or other related expenses to attend training) begin after you are sworn in as an employee on the first day. However, if employees are asked to travel and spend the night at a location for training, they will be reimbursed for related expenses, even though they occur before being sworn in.

You will receive an email with instructions on when and where training will be held and what to bring.

Yes, the Census Bureau has developed mandatory COVID-19 training to protect the health and safety of our workforce and the public. The training will outline steps for staying safe while performing field duties. Learn more about COVID-19 safety measures.

The position that you have been selected for will determine your time commitment for training. You should have received this information when you were offered the position or by email. If you did not, please contact your census office for more information. Call 1-855-JOB-2020 (1-855-562-2020) and select option 3; when prompted, enter your ZIP code to be routed to your census office. You may also use the Federal Relay Service at 1-800-877-8339 for TTY/ASCII.

Please contact your area census office for more information. Call 1-855-JOB-2020 (1-855-562-2020) and select option 3; when prompted, enter your ZIP code to be routed to your area census office. You may also use the Federal Relay Service at 1-800-877-8339 for TTY/ASCII.

If you do not complete the training, you will not receive a work assignment.

Post-Employment

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You can access the employee portal by logging in to the account created when you applied.

Visit Post-Employment Resources for information about jobs, employment training, and other employment services. You can also visit the U.S. Department of Labor's CareerOneStop website or find your local One-Stop Career Center by calling the help line (1-877-872-5627). You may also use the Federal Relay Service at 1-877-889-5627 for TTY/ASCII.

Eligibility for unemployment benefits is determined by your state unemployment office. Please use the Department of Labor's Service Locator to learn specific information regarding unemployment benefits in your area.

Once your 2020 Census job has ended, the Census Bureau will provide a Standard Form 8 (SF-8) to help you file for unemployment benefits.

For questions related to your 2020 Census employment, please call our toll-free personnel and payroll hotline at 1-855-236-2020, option 3. TTY callers can use FedRelay: 1-800-877-8339.

Visit Post-Employment Resources to learn how to include your 2020 Census experience in your resume and find new job opportunities in your area. Find the title of the 2020 Census position you held and copy and paste the information describing the tasks you performed into your resume.

For questions related to your 2020 Census employment, please call our toll-free personnel and payroll hotline at 1-855-236-2020, option 3. TTY callers can use FedRelay: 1-800-877-8339.

If you are a former census employee, you will receive a Standard Form 50 (SF-50), Notification of Personnel Action, in the mail, after your employment has ended. The SF-50 is a record of civilian Federal service, and serves as proof of your employment with the Census Bureau. You will need this form for your records because it could be used to make employment, pay, and qualification decisions about you in the future. If you have questions related to your 2020 Census employment, please call our toll-free personnel and payroll hotline at 1-855-236-2020, option 3. TTY callers can use FedRelay: 1-800-877-8339.

You can start by visiting the Small Business Administration's website at www.SBA.gov. There you can obtain information on how to start and manage your own small business.

 

 

Returning Applicant or 2020 Census Worker?

Check your status, update your information, or complete hiring documents by logging in to your account.

 

 


The U.S. Census Bureau is an equal opportunity employer.