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City taking U.S. Census duty very seriously

By Staff | Mar 31, 2010

Jimmy Jordan, the city's Director of Planning and an official census enumerator, is interviewed by Jeff Lysiak of the Island Reporter.

City Manager Judie Zimomra signed up. So did Planning Director Jimmy Jordan, along with a handful of other folks on the island.

They have all enlisted to become enumerators for the U.S. Census Bureau, which starting today will begin going door-to-door on Sanibel as part of the 2010 Census project.

But the government needs all the help they can get. They are not only hoping that everybody takes the time to fill out the census form as accurately and completely as possible, they are also looking for additional workers to assist them in this task.

“As of Saturday, they were still looking for about 80 more employees,” said Jordan, who joined the census cause last week. “People can certainly use a little more money in this current economy, but they should also do it for their sense of civic duty.”

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the pay scale for people assisting with the census is $12 to $15 per hour depending on position held. Currently, they are seeking help from enumerators (census takers), crew leaders, crew leader assistants, recruiting assistants and clerks.

Since last month, the city has hosted approximately 10 tests for people wishing to enlist as a census employee. Jordan explained that the examination, which takes 30 minutes to complete, covers areas specific to the duties performed by census employees. They include basic clerical skills, math skills and map reading.

“It really is a civic calling,” added Jordan. “We know how many people they need. It’s a great opportunity to pick up some extra money. Maybe they’ll even find a junonia along the way!”

Zimomra noted that census employees will receive four days of paid training as well as mileage to training sites, which include the West Wind Inn and Sanibel Recreation Center.

“People can coordinate with the Census Bureau what hours they are able to work,” she said. “You can work days only, nights only or just on weekends. It’s a pretty good deal.”

The U.S. Census Bureau has added three additional test sites for local residents wishing to assist in completing the 2010 Census. Tests will be administered on the following dates and locations:

Saturday, April 3 at 10:30 a.m. – Sanibel Recreation Center (3880 Sanibel-Captiva Road)

Tuesday, April 6 at 1 p.m. – Sanibel Public Library (770 Dunlop Road)

Saturday, April 10 at 10:30 a.m. – Sanibel Recreation Center (3880 Sanibel-Captiva Road)

Census takers usually work in their own neighborhoods or communities and work varied hours, including evening and weekend opportunities, not exceeding 40 hours per week.

If you are interested in being certain everything and everyone Sanibel is fully counted for the 2010 U.S. Census, call 941-875-2014 to make a reservation for the test.

Census notices began arriving across the islands approximately two weeks ago, but because the census counts information for people based upon their home address as of April 1, many local “snowbirds” may not receive their forms in the mail. That’s where door-to-door data collecting come in.

“Lee County only has about a 10 percent return rate for census forms,” said Jordan, who said enumerators may have to visit a property two, three or four times before any information is received. “I know that Sanibel can do better than that.”

Sanibel Census Information – 2000

Total population – 6,104 (Male – 2,901; Female – 3,203)

Median age – 60.5 years

Average household size – 1.99

Average family size – 2.33

Total housing units – 7,137

Per captiva income (1999) – $66,842

Source: U.S. Census Bureau