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2010 census comes to Carbon

Sun Advocate reporter

Beginning on April 1, the U. S. Census Bureau will start conducting its 2010 census. Although things are quiet at the moment, around 70 to 80 temporary part-time jobs will be created.

"The project's on schedule. Currently we're doing group quarters: hospitals, dorms, jails, military bases, etc. Things should go fairly quickly; the information has to be on Obama's desk by Dec. 1," said Matt Mace, local census manager.

One of the first phases of the new census will be to mail out forms for households and individuals to complete. If forms are not returned before May, a door- to- door campaign will take place. The Bureau plans to hire workers to conduct this campaign and will pay $11.50 per hour. Unlike previous censuses, employees must pass a detailed background check. In addition, they must be 18 years old and pass a basic skills test.

"We have no central office, so workers will mostly be working out of their homes during the evenings and weekends, when people are home," said Mace.

In the past, the Bureau has experienced difficulty recruiting in Carbon County. But, as of last spring, things have been going fairly well with positions being filled. Another difference from years past is the addition of new technology for the counting process. Now, hand-held computers will be utilized, not only to keep information, but also to record global positioning data.

"The GPS system will help us when we go out to follow-ups in remote and rural locations, because there is no other way to list some of these places," said Mace.

Currently, the Bureau is running a $100 million national TV campaign to promote awareness of the census. In Carbon County, the focus thus far has been recruiting for the positions which need to be filled by mid- March, when the forms will be mailed out.

The information should be available to the general public by March 2011, which will be one of the quickest-ever returns on information. Up until the late 19th century, the information took nearly 10 years to count and compile, just in time for the next census.

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