iluna@valleytowncrier.com

RIO GRANDE VALLEY - Local RGV cities are making an attempt to count everyone in low-numbered (or hard-to-count) areas to participate in the U.S. Census 2020 in order to help shape the community and encourage future generations to take part in.

What is the U.S. Census?

The first Census was in 1790 and since, is required by law to count everyone once and only once. The Census is important because our community gets a share of funding and representation in Congress & State Legislature.

By participating in the Census - it is secure, fast and easy. By law, your answers can only be used to produce statistics. Government officials use the data to allocate funding and grants to high-need areas and non-profit organizations, ultimately shaping the future of your community when you participate.

Businesses use census data to locate supermarkets, shopping centers, new housing and other facilities. Your response determines the decisions made on how public funds are spent on schools, fire and emergency services and healthcare in your community.

The 2020 Census counts everyone, including citizens and non-citizens. The 2020 Census is a non-partisan effort to get a complete and accurate count of the U.S. population that partners with federal, state and local organizations.

How is the U.S. Census affecting the RGV?

There are approximately 4,000 jobs available in the four-county area of the Rio Grande Valley (Cameron, Hidalgo, Willacy and Starr). This is the first Census where people can apply online and can also complete part of their training online. The website to apply is www.2020Census.gov/jobs.

The available positions from part-time to full-time pay between $12.00 to $19.00 per hour. The census takers will be home-based, working mostly in the same neighborhoods where they live. Potential candidates who apply to the open positions will be hired in January and February of 2020.

The following qualifications to apply are that you must be 18 years of age to retirement age. US citizens, bilingual (Spanish/English), have an email address, reliable transportation and must be able to use a computer, tablet, iPad.

It will be the first time that the Census 2020 will allow participants to respond online. Other alternatives can be made by mail or by phone. You don’t have to wait for a census taker to come to your door. The Census Bureau will help you complete your responses if you are unable to respond on your own.

Precautions Participating in the U.S. Census 2020

The U.S. Census Bureau is committed to making the 2020 Census quick, easy, and safe for all participants. Here are some tips to avoid the 2020 Census scams:

Phishing: is a criminal act in which someone tries to get your information by pretending to be an entity that you trust. Phishing emails often direct you to a website that looks real but is fake—and may be infected with malware.

It is important to know that the Census Bureau will not send unsolicited emails to request your participation in the 2020 Census. The 2020 Census Bureau will never ask for:

Your Social Security number.

Your bank account or credit card numbers.

Money or donations.

Will not contact you on behalf of a political party.

Home Visits:

If a Census worker visits your home, do the following to verify their identity:

Check to make sure that they have a valid ID badge, with their photograph, a U.S. Department of Commerce watermark, and expiration date.

If you still have questions about their identity, call 800-923-8282 to speak with a local Census Bureau representative.

Reporting Suspected Fraud:

If you suspect fraud, call 800-923-8282 to speak with a local Census Bureau representative. If it is determined that the visitor who came to your door does not work for the Census Bureau, contact your local police department.

Census day is April 1, 2020.