My Two Census

Formerly the non-partisan watchdog of the 2010 US Census, and currently an opinion blog that covers all things political, media, foreign policy, globalization, and culture…but sometimes returning to its census/demographics roots.

MyTwoCensus Editorial: Tell us the truth!

Yesterday, we reported a major discrepancy over 2010 Census jobs: For months, New York Senator Charles Schumer (D) and dozens of other elected officials have reported that 2010 Census jobs last from six weeks to eight months. However, in reality, many of these jobs last only for one to three weeks. For the millions of unemployed Americans in need of jobs, 2010 Census employment will only offer a false glimmer of hope. ┬áThe Census Bureau must stop recruiting workers under the false premise that these jobs will last for a lengthy period of time. Not only is this false advertising, but it could have undesirable effects on individuals’ decisions to take other lower-paying jobs that will likely last for longer than relatively high-paying census jobs, not to mention applicants’ mental health. MyTwoCensus calls on Members of Congress to immediately pass a bill that will force the Census Bureau to advertise using less deceptive measures which explicitly state how long workers will be working at the time they are recruited.

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4 Responses to “MyTwoCensus Editorial: Tell us the truth!”

  1. paco Says:

    LCO office jobs last as long as 6 weeks to 8 months! period.

    Field jobs may last as long as 8 weeks or shorter depending on the operation.

    People hired to do operations may be rehired for subsequent operations IF they worked well, were not slackers, and commited to complete operations by the date of completion.

    It’s not hard to understand. People hear what they want to hear and nothing else. They are the ones who are disappionted.

  2. Techy Says:

    Indeed. All official wording regarding the jobs clearly state the jobs can last “up to” a period of time, and can be ended at any time.

  3. TR Says:

    Part of the problem is the numbers people are being quoted when they’re hired are off by half or more… For example, Address Canvassing listers were told 150 days, when the operation really took 5 weeks for some (including training), and 2 months at most. CCM Independent Listers were told 6-8 weeks when the job took 4 including training.

    The issue now is that once listing is done, the workload becomes difficult to predict because it’s dependent on how good the work was in previous operations, and for NRFU, the response rate.

    I have to say, when I was hired this time, the verbatim did say that work availability was not guaranteed and would be erratic. The trainers stressed this point over and over. Now I know not to rely on the money from this job, but treat it as extra.

    The problem comes when you promise people X amount, and don’t make it explicitly clear that’s a maximum and it could be much shorter than that, which is what the Census Bureau has done. I know people who were told 150 days for Address Canvassing, so they quit lower paying jobs (which makes sense if you expect to work full time for 5 months at almost double the wage), only to be screwed over when the work ran out after a month and a half.

    The overlying issue here is that the Decennial Census treats its workers as disposable. Threats of being fired are common responses to slightly low productivity and to minor mistakes. Morale among temp field workers (at the FOS level even!) is extremely low. It’s a matter of, “hey, it pays better than anything else with this level of responsibility, and I could use the money”.

  4. Bailey Says:


    Thank you for clarifying what many have already figured out. After reading about this entire mess, I contacted my local Census Office and asked them to remove my application from consideration. I have no desire to work for such an inept agency of the U.S. government