The U.S. Census Bureau has been ramping up recruitment for temporary positions in Massachusetts in preparation for the 2020 federal census, which is less than 100 days away.

The bureau reports that it has a goal of 54,000 positions for Massachusetts, and recruitment will wind down near the end of January. Background checks and job offers will ramp up as April nears. In Worcester County, for example, the bureau is looking for close to 6,000 people to serve as census takers.

The census is a constitutionally mandated, decennial count of every individual in America and where they reside. Data collected during the census determines federal funding for communities, representation in Congress, and planning decisions made at the local level, such as where to provide services for the elderly, where to build new roads and schools, and where to locate job training centers.

At an event in western Massachusetts in September, Secretary of the Commonwealth William Galvin emphasized the importance of the upcoming census. During the last census, the city of Springfield was close to losing millions in federal dollars because the official population nearly dipped below 150,000. Current estimates indicate that the city’s population is hovering just above that number, so a complete and accurate count is extremely important.

According to the Census Bureau, an invitation to respond online to the 2020 federal census will be mailed to all households between March 12 and March 20, with reminder letters sent out between March 16 and March 24. If a response is not received, three more reminder postcards or letters will be sent to the household. If those don’t prompt a response, the address will receive an in-person visit. Home visits are scheduled to begin around May 13 and conclude by late July.

Secretary Galvin’s office has educational Census posters and brochures available for download at www.sec.state.ma.us/census2020.

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