By CRAIG GARRETT

Arcadian Editor

Help wanted: retired or between jobs, pleasant, persistent and good with suspicious, obnoxious, even angry people.

Need: 400,000 temporary workers

Apply within: United States Census Bureau, Department of Commerce

Staff with the agency that counts Americans visited DeSoto County on Tuesday, here to brief commissioners on next year’s census, listing what’s at stake — the feds this year disbursing about $675 billion with the 50 states, for example. But it’s not distributed equally: How much of that pie Florida gets depends on more lawmakers in Washington.

Because population drives apportionment, or seats in Congress, Florida gained two in the U.S. House in 2010, and could get one more after the 2020 census is completed. The state’s population in 2000 was about 15 million, and it’s running at 21.6 million in 2019. Population drives revenue-sharing for things such as Head Start for kids to benefits for seniors. The census runs every decade.

But once data capturing tools are exhausted — the internet used this count — the Census Bureau turns to field workers knocking at your door, inquiring, who lives here, please? The Census Bureau in coming months will hire about 400,00 data collectors, temporary workers, said Neal Dollar, a census agent in DeSoto on Tuesday. Pay will run around $15.50 per hour, he said.

The agency will also recruit local leaders, faith and minority groups, those in a position to push the unwilling, to gain a more accurate count. The Census Bureau will train us to “come knock on your door,” Dollar told commissioners.

At a Glance

Feds release sealed census details every 72 years.

April 1, 2020, is Count Day

If you are visited by someone from the Census Bureau, the field representative will present an ID badge that includes their name, their photograph, a Department of Commerce watermark, and an expiration date. A field representative will also carry an official bag with the Census Bureau logo or a laptop for conducting the survey. census.gov

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