Enumerator: Job Description, Duties and Outlook

Enumerators require little formal education. Learn about the training, enumerator job duties and salary expectations to see if this is the right career for you.

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Enumerators are census takers who are usually hired temporarily every ten years for the United States population census. They walk from house to house collecting assigned information, and there typically are no education requirements for this job.

Essential Information

Enumerators collect demographic, economic and housing data on behalf of the U.S. Census Bureau. They are responsible for canvassing neighborhoods, then documenting and reporting the information. Most enumerators are hired to work with the population and housing census that occurs every decade, but there are other types of censuses that are taken more frequently. Most of the jobs are temporary, and salaries vary depending on the location.

Required Education No requirements
Job Growth (2014-2024)* 2% (for information and record clerks)
Salary** Varies by location at each of the six regional offices

Sources: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, **United States Census Bureau

Job Description

Enumerators, also known as census takers, conduct research on behalf of the U.S. Census Bureau. They collect household and demographic information by canvassing their assigned areas. Enumerators must appropriately document and report the results they find.

The U.S. Census Bureau conducts surveys about the U.S. population, economy, governments and communities. Depending on the type of census, it may be completed every five or ten years. Some surveys are conducted annually. Enumerators typically work for the population and housing census, which occurs every ten years.

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Job Duties

Enumerators complete their research in specific areas. They typically begin by reviewing their assigned field and preparing an efficient route. Once a route is planned, census takers travel to designated households and conduct interviews with residents. They must identify themselves and help individuals complete a census form. They may need to assist residents by reading forms and answering questions about the census.

Census takers are also responsible for verifying household addresses and ensuring that all maps and address lists are correct. They correct any discrepancies they encounter in existing census data. For example, they may be sent to a unit that is vacant or no longer considered a household. Enumerators must also leave a notice of their visit at households that are occupied but vacant at the time of their visit. All collected census information, as well as documentation of hours, miles and expenses encountered by the census taker, are reported to a U.S. Census Bureau crew leader.

Employment Outlook

Enumerator positions are temporary and typically only occur every ten years, during the population and housing census. At these times, thousands of workers are hired, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. There are six regional offices of the United States Census Bureau: Atlanta, Denver, Chicago, Los Angeles, Philadelphia, and New York. Wages vary by locality, responsibilities and the cost of living of an area; for example, in 2016, the United States Census Bureau reported hourly pay ranging from $12.07-$17.94 in the Los Angeles region, to $13.84-$19.05 in the Atlanta region.

Enumerators collect information, verify addresses and maps, and fix information discrepancies by canvassing specific areas door to door. Work for enumerators is usually temporary and revolves around the needs of the United States Census Bureau. The pay for enumerators depends on the region or area in which they are working and can range from around $12 to $19 per hour.

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