As it resumes field operations that were suspended in March due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the U.S. Census Bureau is seeking job applicants in several counties including Trinity to begin dropping off census questionnaire packets at the front doors of nearly 150,000 households in Northern California that don’t have physical mailing addresses such as in rural areas where residents use post office boxes.

The delivery of questionnaires is called the “Update Leave” operation, and it began March 15 before all fieldwork was suspended on March 18 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Field staff is trained to observe all social distancing protocols and will wear official government-issued personal protective equipment for their safety and the safety of the public. The operation is contactless and follows the most current federal health and safety guidelines.

People are encouraged to respond promptly to the 2020 census using the ID number included in the questionnaire packet. Responding with a Census ID or the paper questionnaire helps ensure the best count. People can respond online, by phone or by using the paper form in the packet.

The Census Bureau plans to hire an additional 500,000 people nationwide to complete a non-response follow-up operation which sends census takers to the doors of those who have not yet self-responded to the census. The follow-up operation is to begin Aug. 11 and run through the end of the count Oct. 31.

The Census Bureau is seeking 87 applications from Trinity County residents and the selection for jobs will continue from now until early August. Applicants must be U.S. citizens and 18 years of age with an email address and Social Security number. They can apply online at 2020 census.gov/jobs.

Trinity County is still lagging behind in its self-response rate set by those who have already responded to the census questions online or by phone. California’s self-response rate was 61.6 percent as of Monday, slightly higher than the national self-response rate of 60.5 percent.

Among California counties, Mono County had the lowest response rate of 13.4 percent, and Trinity County had the second lowest rate of 14.8 percent followed by Alpine County with 15.3 percent. Trinity County’s immediate neighbors are doing much better. Shasta County’s response rate was 59.3 percent; Humboldt County was at 52.5 percent and Siskiyou County was 47.1 percent.

The census count determines how much-needed federal funding is apportioned over the next 10 years for essential services including health care, road repair and school programs.

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