The Census Bureau bumped up wages from $17 an hour in western North Dakota to $21 an hour and from $15.50 an hour in eastern North Dakota to $18 an hour to try to entice people to apply. The wage hike has helped, said Kevin Iverson, manager of the North Dakota State Census Office, Bismarck.
“They were well behind where they needed to be in North Dakota. The good news is they are catching up,” he said. “The good news is people are beginning to respond. It is getting people’s attention.
The need for workers continues to be unmet in the more rural counties, he said. Among areas listed as having hiring issues as of Dec. 10 were Burke County and Fort Berthold Indian Reservation.
“Just because you choose not to respond to the census does not mean you don’t get included in the census. Somebody eventually comes knocking on your door to gather your information from you,” Iverson said. “So, if we want everybody counted, someone’s got to do that work and they’ve got to do it in every corner at every residence in the state of North Dakota. So it’s just absolutely critical that they meet those manpower missions.”
He noted 26% of households failed to respond to the initial forms delivered in 2010, requiring census workers to make house calls.