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LETTER: The travails of a Las Vegas census worker

Updated September 17, 2020 - 10:12 pm

As a Census 2020 enumerator, I read with interest Mary Hausch’s recent essay on the census (Sunday Review-Journal). I wished I had her as a census field supervisor (CFS). Then maybe collecting the data from the local Las Vegas-Summerlin area wouldn’t have been as painful — not so much from the local population, but getting answers to issues and concerns from the local census collection office.

Yes, over the past three weeks, I’ve knocked on well more than 300 doors, with about one-third responding that they have already submitted their information via the internet or mail. There’s no way of knowing this and continually you take the abuse from the civilian venting at you. In a few cases, we are sent to conduct “re-interviews” in which we again go to a person who has already provided information and ask for it again. Most of these visits ended unpleasantly. In another case, I inputted the answers into my device, yet was tasked to go back three days later to the same house. Ugh.

Then I have to mention receiving a tasking to interview seven “dirt lots” — addresses with no houses, just a foundation. After annotating this into my device, I would again receive a task to go back a couple of weeks later, only to see two previous enumerators also visited these same sites after I annotated them in the first place.

More recently, I was tasked to go to a leasing office — seven times.

In most of these examples, I would contact my CFS for instructions and receive a response only the next day (if at all), leading to more frustration. Inevitably, I would go to the census office to get answers, only to find out sometimes they didn’t know or would quote some message we never received. It really didn’t inspire confidence in this process.

All in all, an increasingly frustrating operation between the census office and the population at large.

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