New Castle County kicked off its 2020 census efforts Wednesday with a job fair at the Rt. 9 Library.
The U.S. Census Bureau is hiring between 1,500 and 2,000 full- and part-time temporary positions in New Castle County to work on the 2020 census. At Wednesday's job fair, U.S. Census Bureau representatives helped residents fill out job applications for positions as local census managers, listers or enumerators.
Devon Reed is a partnership specialist with the U.S. Census Bureau. She says the census count determines funding for programs like WIC, school lunches and housing choice vouchers. “We need to get an accurate count so that we know how many people are using these services, so we can continue to have the right amount of services for people who need them," she said.
According to County officials, an undercount of 8,979 Delawareans in 2010 caused the state to lose around $14 million in federal funding each year since then.
Reed says community census workers are necessary for an accurate count. “We need people in the community to speak to how important the census is and to go to those places where they’ll be able to say, they didn’t do their census, I know they didn't. Let me knock on these doors and make sure that they’re good,” said Reed.
“Me being a census or a government employee, I can talk about how important the census is until I’m blue in the face," she added. “But someone in your community telling you that it’s important carries a whole ‘nother level of importance.”
Dora Williams, a resident of Rose Hill Gardens on the Rt. 9 Corridor, applied to work for the census at the job fair. She says she wants to work specifically in her own community, where she has experience surveying for the New Castle Prevention Coalition.
“I have a rapport with my community,” said Williams. “I think there’s a trust.”
The County also launched its “Commit 2B Counted” outreach campaign Wednesday.
County Executive Matt Meyer says the County is committed to counting all residents. “There’s a situation right now in this country where people are trying to intentionally undercount certain populations,” said Meyer.
He says the County will focus its outreach efforts on traditionally undercounted communities — people of color, children under the age of 5, non-English-speaking people and college students.