A new story out about my time working for he U.S. Census: Counting everyone so everyone counts: A Census worker on what it’s like:
Last summer, in the middle of the pandemic, I spent several weeks approaching strangers, banging on their doors and peppering them with questions about who, and what, they were.
It’s an awkward thing to do, even in normal times, asking: What’s your race? What’s (literally) your tribe? What’s your phone number? Do you own or rent? But such is the life of an enumerator for the U.S. Census Bureau, engaged as we were in the thankless task of counting every person in America.
Early in the year, I’d seen an article that said the Census needed workers — part time, temporary and paid well enough. I had a feeling 2020 was going to be a weird year. Besides, as a freelance writer, I know that work can dry up at any moment. So I sent in an application, assuming it would be boring and easy.
Sure enough, COVID-19 hit and a good chunk of my work died on the vine, since no one wanted to read about anything but the pandemic. I was happy to have some enumerating in my back pocket.