The U.S. Census Bureau is opening eight offices in the Houston region to recruit about 5,000 workers, who’ll go door-to-door to conduct the interviews for the survey.
The Census workers will interview people who don’t respond to the census online, by phone or through the mail.
“Those people who are trying to create work experience, we are a great job for you,” said Cathy Lacy, who directs the Census in Texas and 11 other states.
Lacy said they want to recruit a diverse workforce that can work evenings and weekends, though she said rural areas have been the hardest to staff.
“This is the thing that keeps me up at night – making sure we have enough people recruited. And that’s why we’re looking for the people who don’t know they want to work for us,” Lacy said.
Hiring workers is just the latest challenge for the 2020 Census. It’s been at the center of a long legal battle over the Trump administration’s push to include a citizenship question.
The U.S. Supreme Court blocked that in June, explaining that the federal government hadn’t explained well enough why it wanted to ask about people’s citizenship status.
Some elected officials, including Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner and Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo, have opposed the citizenship question. They have said it could scare people from answering the survey and cause an under-count.
An under-count could hurt Houston, Harris County and Texas because the city, the county and state receive part of their funding for federal assistance programs based on census data. Also, the survey, which happens every 10 years, determines a state’s representation in Congress.
Just a 1% undercount in Texas could cost the state $300 million a year, according to the Center for Public Policy Priorities. The center also estimates Texas could gain three to four seats in Congress, if there’s an accurate count.
Below is the list of the offices the Census Bureau is opening in the Houston region:
Harris County East: 9920 Gulf Freeway, Houston, Texas 77034
Harris County North East: 652 N. Sam Houston Parkway E, Houston, Texas 77060
Harris County North West: 19214 Clay Rd, Katy, Texas 77449
Houston North West: 7676 Hillmont St, STE 304, Houston, Texas 77040
Houston South: 3015 MacGregor Way, Houston, Texas 77004
Houston West: 13501 Katy FWY, Houston, Texas 77059
Montgomery County: 9186 Six Pines Rd, Spring, Texas 77380
Tyler: 525 East Front Street, Tyler, Texas 78223