BEMIDJI -- Completing next year's census will require thousands of workers across the state of Minnesota, including in Bemidji.
The number of workers needed in the Bemidji area hasn't yet been determined and won't be known until the process starts. However, the United States Census Bureau is looking for people to apply now for those door-knocking positions in 2020. Workers generally earn about $14 an hour.
"The main body of work that we hire for are census takers," said Sam Fettig, lead Minnesota media specialist for the bureau. "They're the ones who go door-to-door with people who don't self respond."
According to Fettig, citizens will receive their first contact from the bureau to participate in the census in March, and have until the end of April to respond.
"If we haven't heard back by the end of April, that's when the door-knockers begin their work," Fettig said. "Most of the positions will last anywhere from a few weeks to a few months of work. People usually set their own schedule, either taking a couple hours in the evening or the weekend."
Fettig said census offices across the country are already working on what's called address canvassing, to ensure correct residencies. Through the end of October, census staff will be updating address lists.
"It's the first operation where we have staff out in the field," Fettig said. "We'll work with the cities and counties, along with the Post Office to find out about new housing developments, or if homes have been torn down. Then we'll send the field workers out to double check some areas where the data might not line up."
Work on the census will continue into late summer and could extend into fall 2020, Fettig said. The results will then be tabulated and submitted to the White House by the end of December 2020, before being made open to the public.
According to the bureau's website data collected through the census will determine how more than $675 billion in federal dollars will be distributed.
Fettig said the census will also "determine how congressional, state and local boundaries are drawn. It's important to make sure every area of Minnesota has the fullest representation." The state of Minnesota has eight congressional districts and 10 electoral votes.
For more information about working on the census, visit 2020census.gov/jobs.