SANTA MARIA, Calif. -- The 2020 Census is around the corner and there is a big need for local workers to collect the data. There are about 1,000 positions on the Central Coast; the U.S Census Bureau is offering up to $23 an hour.
“It's a great side gig for say a student, or a retiree, or someone who's just looking for some part work," said Mark van de Kamp, spokesman for the City of Santa Maria.
The survey will ask things like how many people are living at your home; whether the home is owned or rented; and the sex, age, and race of respondents.
“They wanna know that so that they can have fair political representation and have fair federal dollars come into each community," said Van de Kamp.
Each person accounts for about $2,000 a year, for the next 10 years.
“So each person that's counted could help bring in around $20,000 to their community," said Van de Kamp.
“The county of Santa Barbara is scheduled to lose $43 million in 10 years time if there's an undercount," said Mayor of Guadalupe Ariston Jullian.
Different positions are open.
“Some will be supervisoral in nature, others are gonna be working outdoors, or somebody working the phones. A lot of it has to do with really promoting that the census is coming," said Van de Kamp.
After census day on April 1st, enumerators will be needed to follow up and knock on doors in places where there wasn't a response.
“This is the first digital census nationally, so there's some predictions that the return rate will not be anywhere near 100%. And it's never 100% even when they go door to door," the Santa Maria spokesman said.
Cities like Guadalupe and Santa Maria are working on their own outreach efforts, as well.
“The city is looking forward to receiving state funding so we can do our outreach with a number of partners. We should hear back any day now," said Van de Kamp.
Santa Maria requested $80,000 from the county, which will disperse those state funds among the cities.
“We plan to work with the county and also with the Community Action Commission 'cause there's an effort to go out to make sure we got that proper count," said Julian.
Both cities are at an increased risk of being undercounted.
“If there are children who are five years of age, those are sometimes hard to count," said Van de Kamp.
“If your educational level is low, there's an undercount there. If there's a lot of movement going around because of the nature of the labor, field workers, [and if] there's language issues," said Julian.
In San Luis Obispo County, the Census Bureau is hosting a recruitment event at the County Government Center on Thursday from 10 a.m - 11:30 a.m.