Address listers are responsible for visiting neighborhoods and verifying addresses in the Census’ Master Address File (MAF) in preparation for the 2020 Count. The Census Bureau will hire approximately half of the 160,000 in-field canvassers that it hired during the 2010 Census due to budget cuts, as well as innovations in satellite imaging. For the 2020 Census, address listers will be deployed to verify areas that have been flagged by the Census Bureau as needing review, which it approximates will constitute 30 percent of Census blocks. Hiring local address listers is an important step to ensuring a complete and accurate count, which affects a state’s redistricting, political representation, and federal funding. In hard-to-count communities, address listers who live locally are able to identify hidden housing units — such as converted garages and unpermitted in-law units — that may go unnoticed by someone outside the community.
Census Job Qualifications & Duties
Candidates must be U.S. citizens 18 years or older and be able to pass a federal background check. Bilingual candidates are highly desired. Veterans may also be eligible for preferential hiring. As address canvassers, candidates can expect to:
Use smartphones, provided by the Census, to update address lists and maps
Maintain and submit records of hours worked, miles driven, and expenses incurred on the job
Meet with supervisor to review procedures, report issues or concerns, and receive updated instructions
Attend team meetings and communicate with other address canvassers via phone
Working as an address canvasser is a valuable opportunity for development. It pays well (from $12 up to $30/hour depending on the county), builds technological literacy, and reliable canvassers may be employed again to work as enumerators for the Census. Address canvassers may also be eligible for dislocated worker benefits after their role ends.
Counties, cities, local nonprofits, and community-based organizations should support the recruitment of qualified address canvassers. The more that local entities can source, engage, and retain a robust pipeline of candidates, the more successful their count will ultimately be. The Census Bureau estimates that it needs anywhere from a 5:1 to a 10:1 candidate-to-hire ratio due to the long application timeline and candidate attrition, which makes candidate recruitment even more urgent.
Who can help?
Counties and cities
Nonprofit job training programs
Local and community colleges
Workforce development boards
Adult education programs
Community institutions (e.g., libraries)
Coordinating with their local Complete Count Committees and establishing a subcommittee on field staff hiring
Working with their regional Census office to educate their community about the Census and the address canvasser opportunity
Providing access to computers and Internet to complete the online application and assessment
Holding workshops and trainings on technological literacy for interested candidates
Creating off-ramps and transition opportunities for the approximately 80,000 people who might be seeking new employment after their address canvasser role ends
We offer tools and services to support local Census staff recruitment strategies.