About Us

Make a Donation
Fully-Local • Non-Partisan • Public-Service Journalism

Texas’ strong economy is making it harder for officials to hire part-time census workers

Thursday, July 11, 2019 by Ashley Lopez, KUT

The U.S. Census Bureau is having a tough time hiring workers in Texas for the 2020 census because the unemployment rate is so low – which means nonprofits and local governments may have to step in to make sure there’s an accurate count.

It takes a lot of work and a lot of people to pull off the constitutionally mandated population count every decade. The bureau hires workers before and during every count to help out, but those positions are temporary.

Ann Beeson, CEO of the Center for Public Policy Priorities in Austin, said with so many people already employed, it’s been difficult to hire folks this time around in Texas.

“They have had a hard time staffing up, and not just in Texas but around the country … (but) especially in Texas, because our unemployment rate is even lower here,” Beeson said. “So they are not going to have as many boots on the ground, so to speak, to help get out the count.”

According to a spokesperson from the Dallas Regional Census Office, this is a problem in many parts of the country with low unemployment rates.

“We are encouraging residents that it is a great civic duty to be part of this effort and a part-time, short-term job could help pay for that dream vacation or home improvement,” the spokesperson said.

Beeson said she’s been in touch with officials in the bureau who said “several positions are still unfilled” in Texas.

However, a spokesperson from the Dallas Regional Census Office said they have hired enough people in the state for a short-term project before the official count. Starting in mid-August, a couple of thousand people will begin verifying housing units and addresses in Texas.

Photo by U.S. Census Bureau. This story was produced as part of the Austin Monitor’s reporting partnership with KUT.

The Austin Monitor’s work is made possible by donations from the community. Though our reporting covers donors from time to time, we are careful to keep business and editorial efforts separate while maintaining transparency. A complete list of donors is available here, and our code of ethics is explained here.

Join Your Friends and Neighbors

We're a nonprofit news organization, and we put our service to you above all else. That will never change. But public-service journalism requires community support from readers like you. Will you join your friends and neighbors to support our work and mission?

Back to Top