By Carolyn Lee
The Imperial Republican
Chase County is one of many rural counties in Nebraska and the nation designated as “Update/Leave” by the 2010 Census. As such, 100 percent of the households in the county will shortly receive a letter from the Director of the U.S. Census Bureau advising occupants that a census taker will be coming to their home to deliver a census form to be filled out and mailed back.
Advance letters are meant to emphasize the importance of the 2010 Census to them and to their community, and to alleviate concerns that may arise from having census takers come to their door to verify the address and leave a census form to be mailed back.
Vic Gentry of the North Platte 2010 Census office said Friday that the letters are probably in the mail.
Between March 1 and April 2 census takers will be seen in rural areas, where most of the housing units don’t have a street address. This includes the city of Imperial.
Gentry said there are 12 Census employees in Chase County, with several more working on the fringes of the county. There are crew leaders, assistant crew leaders and enumerators, or the census takers.
When a Chase County resident receives the hand-delivered census survey, he or she must mail the completed survey by April 1.
If the survey is misplaced or not sent, Gentry said, about May 1 the 2010 Census will receive a “non-response follow-up address.”
The address is given to the enumerators, who then “knock on your door, ask you to answer the questions, and they’ll return the answers to our office.”
Gentry said enumerators are authorized to visit a home three times to obtain the survey answers.
It pays, therefore, for household members to answer the census survey and mail it back immediately, he noted.
“The very best of the Update/Leave employees will be asked to stay on the non-response follow-up,” Gentry said. “We’re going to need a tremendous amount of people” for the non-response follow-up.
Persons seeking employment by 2010 Census may call (308) 221-3060.
Wages for the positions differ. Census takers may set their own hours, Gentry said, but “We’re on a specific quota. There are targets we have to meet” timewise.
Gentry said his office oversees 29 crew leader districts in 52 counties. That’s 60,000 square miles and 150,000 hand-delivered surveys in 26 days.
He noted that doesn’t cover the cities of Hastings, Grand Island, Kearney, North Platte and Scottsbluff in his North Platte office, as those cities have street addresses.
Gentry reminds area residents that funding for schools, roads and more relies on numbers compiled by the U.S. Census Bureau. It’s important, he said, to be counted.