Author Topic: Census paying $28 per hour!  (Read 3714 times)

DeniseNJ

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Census paying $28 per hour!
« on: January 16, 2020, 12:29:23 PM »
Haven't done this myself but I saw a sign in NYC for this and trying to get my lazy kid to do it.  anyway, if anybody does it maybe post here.  Sounds great as a short term side gig.

IsThisAGoodUsername

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spartana

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Re: Census paying $28 per hour!
« Reply #2 on: January 16, 2020, 12:49:28 PM »
My area of SoCal said $19-$21/hour plus reimbursement for mileage.

habaneroNorway

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Re: Census paying $28 per hour!
« Reply #3 on: January 16, 2020, 01:19:57 PM »
The last time the US had a census (2010) the cost was about 42 bucks per head counted.
In the UK the cost was 1/6th of the US cost per head.
In Norway the cost was 1/80th of the US cost per head.

The massive differences in cost per capita counted comes down to the quality of public registers and how much data the government actually has on who lives in the country. The last Norwegian census was done entirely from goverement registers and the ability to connect various data sources in these registers. None even noticed a census actually took place except for the very few persons who were given the task.
« Last Edit: January 16, 2020, 01:24:54 PM by habaneroNorway »

trashtalk

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Re: Census paying $28 per hour!
« Reply #4 on: January 21, 2020, 07:36:04 PM »
Haven't done this myself but I saw a sign in NYC for this and trying to get my lazy kid to do it.  anyway, if anybody does it maybe post here.  Sounds great as a short term side gig.

It's $25 an hour in my area of Los Angeles. You have to be able to pass a background check. Mileage is reimbursed at .58 a mile.

Rosy

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Re: Census paying $28 per hour!
« Reply #5 on: January 22, 2020, 11:03:49 AM »
Well, poor little Florida ... 

$15.50-$17.00 per hour in my area - going as low as $14.00 in the next county - out in the countryside:).

terran

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Re: Census paying $28 per hour!
« Reply #6 on: January 22, 2020, 11:17:19 AM »
Well, poor little Florida ... 

$15.50-$17.00 per hour in my area - going as low as $14.00 in the next county - out in the countryside:).

Wow, and here I was feeling bad for being in a $19-21 county.

ontheway2

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Re: Census paying $28 per hour!
« Reply #7 on: January 22, 2020, 11:45:33 AM »
It's $14-16 per hour where I am in a L-MCOL area (houses 100k-1m+ with average 200-350k)

Gibbelstein

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Re: Census paying $28 per hour!
« Reply #8 on: January 24, 2020, 06:09:34 PM »
The last time the US had a census (2010) the cost was about 42 bucks per head counted.
In the UK the cost was 1/6th of the US cost per head.
In Norway the cost was 1/80th of the US cost per head.

The massive differences in cost per capita counted comes down to the quality of public registers and how much data the government actually has on who lives in the country. The last Norwegian census was done entirely from goverement registers and the ability to connect various data sources in these registers. None even noticed a census actually took place except for the very few persons who were given the task.

I mean, I'm sure there is room for improvement/efficiency, and I enjoy regional pride as much as the next person, but it feels like the difference in cost more likely come down to complexity, specifically the number of people counted, the area being covered, and the degree of accuracy you're comfortable with.

For example, the US Census costing 80x the Norway Census isn't as surprising given they have over 60x the population. And to collect it, census takers have to cover an area 30x as large. I would imagine rural areas are the hardest to cover. For instance, census workers in Alaska alone have to cover 5x the area of Norway just to collect 13% as many people. The population of Norway appears to be between that of Minnesota and South Carolina (the 22nd and 23rd most populated states) but Minnesota is only about 70% the size of Norway so not 1:1 and SC is considerably smaller for the same number of people. 

And when it comes to accuracy, it feels to me like pulling from existing databases defeats some of the purpose of doing a census (unless those databases were filled using similar collection methods?), but that accuracy/cost tradeoff is a decision someone has to make. But then the census cost should include the cost of collecting and maintaining those data bases as well.

LWYRUP

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Re: Census paying $28 per hour!
« Reply #9 on: January 24, 2020, 06:51:47 PM »
$29.50 here outside of DC.

maizeman

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Re: Census paying $28 per hour!
« Reply #10 on: January 24, 2020, 07:14:41 PM »
The last time the US had a census (2010) the cost was about 42 bucks per head counted.
In the UK the cost was 1/6th of the US cost per head.
In Norway the cost was 1/80th of the US cost per head.

The massive differences in cost per capita counted comes down to the quality of public registers and how much data the government actually has on who lives in the country. The last Norwegian census was done entirely from goverement registers and the ability to connect various data sources in these registers. None even noticed a census actually took place except for the very few persons who were given the task.

It seems like we're not comparing apples to apples then.

Norway spends money on keeping detailed records of who lives where all the time (those government registers you mentioned). So the added cost per head of doing a nationwide census is obviously going to be low because most of the cost is reflected in the cost of creating and maintaining those records in the first place.

The US doesn't spend as much money tracking who lives where day to day and year to year outside of the census, so yes of course we'll have to spend a lot more once every ten years when we do want to collect that detailed data. Comparing just the marginal cost of doing the census between the two countries is like concluding the person who tidies up every day is a better cleaner simply because it takes them less time to clean each time they clean, while the person who cleans up only once a week has to spend more time each time they clean.

habaneroNorway

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Re: Census paying $28 per hour!
« Reply #11 on: January 25, 2020, 04:33:39 AM »
For example, the US Census costing 80x the Norway Census isn't as surprising given they have over 60x the population. And to collect it, census takers have to cover an area 30x as large. I would imagine rural areas are the hardest to cover. For instance, census workers in Alaska alone have to cover 5x the area of Norway just to collect 13% as many people. The population of Norway appears to be between that of Minnesota and South Carolina (the 22nd and 23rd most populated states) but Minnesota is only about 70% the size of Norway so not 1:1 and SC is considerably smaller for the same number of people. 

And when it comes to accuracy, it feels to me like pulling from existing databases defeats some of the purpose of doing a census (unless those databases were filled using similar collection methods?), but that accuracy/cost tradeoff is a decision someone has to make. But then the census cost should include the cost of collecting and maintaining those data bases as well.

The cost was per capita, not totalt cost.

So counting 1 person living in the US costs 80x the cost of counting one person living in Norway. We stopped counting US-style (i.e going from door to door) in the 70s. The US cost is very high because people like yourself have to walk around, knock on doors and ask how many persons live there. In one way it's a byproduct of how easy it is to live "under the radar" - that is very, very hard in Norway as there is very little you can get without a social security number for example. And it is also a question of how good public registers of the population actually are and to what extent it is possible to link various sources to get the most complete and accurate count. A manual count is also quite inaccurate for obvious reasons.

On a grader scale it is also the irony that the US is and has been the home of the most sophisticated technology companies on the planet but the public side of things is lagging quite far behind a lot of countries with much less tech know-how and a much, much smaller tech industry in the country. I can conduct almost my entire life on-line. Tax returns, applying for univeristy, getting a student loan, getting a mortgage, opening a bank account, applying for kindergarden for the kids, filing tax details for our housemaid while we had one, applying for a building permit for a major renovation on the house, filing all sorts of stuff if you have a business etcetc. None of these activities require anyone showing up in person and they haven't done so for over 10 years. Getting a standard mortgage takes around 15 minutes. All this is partly enabled by a single secure authentication system financed by local banks which can be used to log into any service requiring secure identification and secure signature (I sign all the above mentioned documents electronically when a signature is required). This single login/authentication method is used by all banks, brokerages, public services etcetc.

But this was a diversion. I just find the concept of a very manual census in a developed country fascinating. There is even part of an episode of "West Wing" partly devoted to it as the census matters a lot for the US elections.
« Last Edit: January 25, 2020, 06:09:47 AM by habaneroNorway »

Dicey

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Re: Census paying $28 per hour!
« Reply #12 on: January 25, 2020, 07:06:48 AM »
The census matters a lot for representation, which in turn effects elections. It also matters for funding things such as transportation and social services. One huge difference between the US and Norway,  besides the points mentioned above, is the number of undocumented residents in the US. The only way to count and provide for them is to manually count, because they're um, unregistered. Sadly, they're also afraid of being deported, so are far less likely to respond. There's also typically a lot of fear mongering that swirls up whenever the census is conducted.

To your point about technology: This is the first time the census will be completed online. The problem is multi-faceted. It increases the fear of discovery and deportation, it requires resources undocumented workers and the working poor may have little or no access to, and these workers tend to live unconventionally in converted garages, or sharing housing with multiple families, or as was recently discovered in NYC, in housing that doesn't legally exist. The census worker's job will be to track down the people who fear the process, or due to language barriers, don't even know it's going on. Then there's the whole anti-gubmint crowd who aren't going to want to be counted for a host of other reasons.

Unemployment on the US is at near-record lows. They have to pay a decent wage to attract enough workers to get the job done. They also need workers fluent in many different languages. I wonder how many languages the census is conducted in in Norway? Yeah, there's a whole other layer of costs to consider.

It won't be easy, but it's vital. It costs what it costs, because it's a Herculean task. Comparing the US to anyone else's cost to collect accurate census data is rather pointless.
« Last Edit: January 28, 2020, 05:46:24 AM by Dicey »

LWYRUP

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Re: Census paying $28 per hour!
« Reply #13 on: January 25, 2020, 07:52:56 AM »

@habaneroNorway, there are a lot of people in the US that would prefer we not have the government track every detail about our lives.  Some of it is just the culture, but others (like my family) fled the Soviet Union and have that in our collective memory.

To me, needing someone from the government to walk around my house every 10 years to ask questions because they are too disorganized to get the information in a centralized manner is a feature, not a bug. 

Paul der Krake

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Re: Census paying $28 per hour!
« Reply #14 on: January 25, 2020, 08:27:56 AM »

@habaneroNorway, there are a lot of people in the US that would prefer we not have the government track every detail about our lives.  Some of it is just the culture, but others (like my family) fled the Soviet Union and have that in our collective memory.

To me, needing someone from the government to walk around my house every 10 years to ask questions because they are too disorganized to get the information in a centralized manner is a feature, not a bug. 
The census isn't sending people around your house every 10 years because they're disorganized, they do it because they tried sending you mail multiple times and you never replied.

By the River

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Re: Census paying $28 per hour!
« Reply #15 on: January 27, 2020, 02:10:05 PM »
The census isn't sending people around your house every 10 years because they're disorganized, they do it because they tried sending you mail multiple times and you never replied.

I worked for the census in 2010 and this is correct.  The only houses that I went to were ones that had not returned the mailed census.  Some were immigrants (takers don't ask about legal status), a couple were anti-government/big brother who didn't want to answer, several homeowners just appeared disinterested but answered the questions when asked, and a whole group of forms were residents at a nursing home where they didn't realize a manager/admin had to fill out the forms; other houses were vacant.   We would go back to houses a few times if people were not home to try catching them at home. 

I've signed up again as its pretty easy and fits into my schedule.  (easier to catch most people at home in evenings/weekends)   

partdopy

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Re: Census paying $28 per hour!
« Reply #16 on: January 29, 2020, 12:10:21 PM »

@habaneroNorway, there are a lot of people in the US that would prefer we not have the government track every detail about our lives.  Some of it is just the culture, but others (like my family) fled the Soviet Union and have that in our collective memory.

To me, needing someone from the government to walk around my house every 10 years to ask questions because they are too disorganized to get the information in a centralized manner is a feature, not a bug. 
The census isn't sending people around your house every 10 years because they're disorganized, they do it because they tried sending you mail multiple times and you never replied.

I have a policy not to reply to government inquiries unless lack of response has real and direct negative consequences.

Why anyone would voluntarily give them information outside of population numbers for representation in government is beyond me.

partgypsy

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Re: Census paying $28 per hour!
« Reply #17 on: January 29, 2020, 12:18:46 PM »

@habaneroNorway, there are a lot of people in the US that would prefer we not have the government track every detail about our lives.  Some of it is just the culture, but others (like my family) fled the Soviet Union and have that in our collective memory.

To me, needing someone from the government to walk around my house every 10 years to ask questions because they are too disorganized to get the information in a centralized manner is a feature, not a bug. 
The census isn't sending people around your house every 10 years because they're disorganized, they do it because they tried sending you mail multiple times and you never replied.

I have a policy not to reply to government inquiries unless lack of response has real and direct negative consequences.

Why anyone would voluntarily give them information outside of population numbers for representation in government is beyond me.

Well, it affects funding and districting information for your area, so yeah it does help your area if you answer these questions. And it costs the government more money if you don't answer. They have to send out someone burning gas because you didn't send back the survey. Don't worry; facebook and the internet have far more info on you than the gov does, and unlike facebook/internet, the gov has a legitimate reasons for accurately counting the population in order to allocate resources. 

partdopy

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Re: Census paying $28 per hour!
« Reply #18 on: January 29, 2020, 12:58:00 PM »

@habaneroNorway, there are a lot of people in the US that would prefer we not have the government track every detail about our lives.  Some of it is just the culture, but others (like my family) fled the Soviet Union and have that in our collective memory.

To me, needing someone from the government to walk around my house every 10 years to ask questions because they are too disorganized to get the information in a centralized manner is a feature, not a bug. 
The census isn't sending people around your house every 10 years because they're disorganized, they do it because they tried sending you mail multiple times and you never replied.

I have a policy not to reply to government inquiries unless lack of response has real and direct negative consequences.

Why anyone would voluntarily give them information outside of population numbers for representation in government is beyond me.

Well, it affects funding and districting information for your area, so yeah it does help your area if you answer these questions. And it costs the government more money if you don't answer. They have to send out someone burning gas because you didn't send back the survey. Don't worry; facebook and the internet have far more info on you than the gov does, and unlike facebook/internet, the gov has a legitimate reasons for accurately counting the population in order to allocate resources.

Well sure, that's why I said 'outside of population numbers'.  I'm sure that 'the internet' has more information on me than the government does, because I voluntarily provide the information to it through what I do on the internet.

As for facebook, probably not.  I have one, but have never made a post nor use it to do anything, and I have it blocked from my location data.  Other people do tag me in pictures though so I guess it knows who my friends are.

FIRE@50

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Re: Census paying $28 per hour!
« Reply #19 on: January 29, 2020, 01:39:32 PM »
$26.50 in my county!

Should the census wage scale be the definitive metric for determining who lives in a HCOL, MCOL, LCOL area for all discussion on this forum going forward? Do we need a poll for this or can it just be handled by decree?

Dicey

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Re: Census paying $28 per hour!
« Reply #20 on: January 29, 2020, 03:58:23 PM »

@habaneroNorway, there are a lot of people in the US that would prefer we not have the government track every detail about our lives.  Some of it is just the culture, but others (like my family) fled the Soviet Union and have that in our collective memory.

To me, needing someone from the government to walk around my house every 10 years to ask questions because they are too disorganized to get the information in a centralized manner is a feature, not a bug. 
The census isn't sending people around your house every 10 years because they're disorganized, they do it because they tried sending you mail multiple times and you never replied.

I have a policy not to reply to government inquiries unless lack of response has real and direct negative consequences.

Why anyone would voluntarily give them information outside of population numbers for representation in government is beyond me.

Well, it affects funding and districting information for your area, so yeah it does help your area if you answer these questions. And it costs the government more money if you don't answer. They have to send out someone burning gas because you didn't send back the survey. Don't worry; facebook and the internet have far more info on you than the gov does, and unlike facebook/internet, the gov has a legitimate reasons for accurately counting the population in order to allocate resources.
Kind of funny that people will throw down $100 and answer a shitload of invasive questions for a genetics testing company, but don't want to answer a survey that actually benefits them directly and indirectly because it's the "gubmint".
There is a thing called collective good, which is where the census firmly belongs. If you drive on a public road, attend or attended a school, ever used police, fire or emergency services or ever hope to, or even generally appreciate living in a country of relative order, you should participate in the census.

maisymouser

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Re: Census paying $28 per hour!
« Reply #21 on: January 29, 2020, 06:48:58 PM »
Thanks for the tip! It's $17-19 in my MCOL area. Given that I drive an electric car, I may just go ahead and try it out for the fun of it and earn some extra mileage reimbursement on top of the pay.

LWYRUP

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Re: Census paying $28 per hour!
« Reply #22 on: January 31, 2020, 06:22:21 PM »

@habaneroNorway, there are a lot of people in the US that would prefer we not have the government track every detail about our lives.  Some of it is just the culture, but others (like my family) fled the Soviet Union and have that in our collective memory.

To me, needing someone from the government to walk around my house every 10 years to ask questions because they are too disorganized to get the information in a centralized manner is a feature, not a bug. 
The census isn't sending people around your house every 10 years because they're disorganized, they do it because they tried sending you mail multiple times and you never replied.

I have a policy not to reply to government inquiries unless lack of response has real and direct negative consequences.

Why anyone would voluntarily give them information outside of population numbers for representation in government is beyond me.

Well, it affects funding and districting information for your area, so yeah it does help your area if you answer these questions. And it costs the government more money if you don't answer. They have to send out someone burning gas because you didn't send back the survey. Don't worry; facebook and the internet have far more info on you than the gov does, and unlike facebook/internet, the gov has a legitimate reasons for accurately counting the population in order to allocate resources.
Kind of funny that people will throw down $100 and answer a shitload of invasive questions for a genetics testing company, but don't want to answer a survey that actually benefits them directly and indirectly because it's the "gubmint".
There is a thing called collective good, which is where the census firmly belongs. If you drive on a public road, attend or attended a school, ever used police, fire or emergency services or ever hope to, or even generally appreciate living in a country of relative order, you should participate in the census.

I think you meant to say "government" not "gubmint."

Dicey

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Re: Census paying $28 per hour!
« Reply #23 on: January 31, 2020, 06:31:27 PM »

@habaneroNorway, there are a lot of people in the US that would prefer we not have the government track every detail about our lives.  Some of it is just the culture, but others (like my family) fled the Soviet Union and have that in our collective memory.

To me, needing someone from the government to walk around my house every 10 years to ask questions because they are too disorganized to get the information in a centralized manner is a feature, not a bug. 
The census isn't sending people around your house every 10 years because they're disorganized, they do it because they tried sending you mail multiple times and you never replied.

I have a policy not to reply to government inquiries unless lack of response has real and direct negative consequences.

Why anyone would voluntarily give them information outside of population numbers for representation in government is beyond me.

Well, it affects funding and districting information for your area, so yeah it does help your area if you answer these questions. And it costs the government more money if you don't answer. They have to send out someone burning gas because you didn't send back the survey. Don't worry; facebook and the internet have far more info on you than the gov does, and unlike facebook/internet, the gov has a legitimate reasons for accurately counting the population in order to allocate resources.
Kind of funny that people will throw down $100 and answer a shitload of invasive questions for a genetics testing company, but don't want to answer a survey that actually benefits them directly and indirectly because it's the "gubmint".
There is a thing called collective good, which is where the census firmly belongs. If you drive on a public road, attend or attended a school, ever used police, fire or emergency services or ever hope to, or even generally appreciate living in a country of relative order, you should participate in the census.

I think you meant to say "government" not "gubmint."
Uh, don't think so. Pretty sure I said what I meant. You're welcome to elaborate.