June 18th, 2024

City counting on census workers to collect data

By Ry Clarke - Lethbridge Herald Local Journalism Initiative Reporter on February 8, 2023.

The City of Lethbridge has opened applications for 2023 municipal census takers.

Looking to hire upwards of 150 workers, the City is preparing for its next municipal census, scheduled for April.

With the most recent census in 2019, local census workers will help provide an accurate count of the number of people presently living in Lethbridge. Information from the census is used to help provide planning data for the city and can be used in infrastructures and schools.

“Historically we have done the census every year; we put it on hold, the last time being 2019. We want to do the census because it provides us with information for planning purposes. Infrastructure and schools use it as well,” said deputy City Clerk David Sarsfield Tuesday.

“We will be doing it this year as always on April 1st. We need people who are energetic, who like to walk, are able to go to each door and drop off a notice with a pin number, Pin numbers serve as a personal identity identification number which allows people to do it online, and then census takers will follow up with those that are less responsive. It starts on April 1st and goes approximately a three-week period, with results release in mid-June approximately.”

In 2019 the census showed Lethbridge had a population of 101,482, historically hitting over 100,000 for the first time, according to Sarsfield.

Pausing from doing the census in 2019, the City hopes to gain valuable information from counting its population again.

“The reason we stopped doing it was the province announced they would no longer be using the census numbers for provincial and federal grants, instead relying on population estimates from Statistics Canada,” said Sarsfield.

“There are approximately 43,000 households in Lethbridge. We are doing it because our information is more complete and we use it for planning purposes. If the province chooses to base grants on something else, that is their choice, but we still have value for the census in the city.”

Applications are available at lethbridge.ca/census, and will be accepted until Friday, Feb 24 at 4:30 p.m.

Candidates should be a Lethbridge resident, 18 years of age or older, able to be physically active, can operate a smartphone or tablet, and have an active email (all communications will be done by email).

Successful applicants will be notified by mid-March with a two-hour mandatory training session happening later that month.

Census takers will be paid $2.50 per household they reach, as well as compensation for data usage on devices and for the training.

“We typically hire anywhere between 150 and 175 people. It’s a short window that they are required to work. It is three weeks, and it’s not every day,” said Sarsfield.

“Takers get paid as long as we get the information from that household. For instance, you drop off a pin number on April 1st, if the person from that household does it online, they will get credit for it, so it isn’t just the ones they get from going door-to-door, but also the ones which they enable a response to the census.

“One of the reasons we are doing it, is to see where the patterns of growth are. There is a lot of new neighbourhoods since 2019. We will have to see what the populations are, we’re also looking into the makeup of the demographics,” said Sarsfield. “We are excited to be doing the census again, it has been a long time.”

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