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2020 Census moving forward as planned — hiring underway

2020 Census logo
Approximately 300 field workers are needed

Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — The American Samoa Census Office is on track with moving the 2020 census forward —  hiring of staff for field work — with the actual count to begin next March, says Census Area Manager Meleisea Vai Filiga.

Samoa News has received public inquiries about the 2020 census and one of the main issues that has been raised is when does the 2020 census actually get underway. Some residents want to know so they are aware that census takers are legitimate and are there for the census count.

There is also a lot of talk in the community about local residents being hired for the census, as was mentioned during the official opening ceremony of the local Census Office last month.

Responding to Samoa News inquiries, Meleisea explained that approximately 300 field staff will be hired to conduct the count for the 2020 Census of American Samoa. He said the initial staffing targets include 200 enumerators, 40 crew leaders, 40 crew leader assistants, and 8 field operations supervisors.

He explained that the field staff selection will begin in mid-December, 2019. “This selection process includes a test and interview,” he said, adding that field staff that have been selected and passed a background check will begin training in January 2020.

As to when the actual count commences, Meleisea said it will begin in March, 2020. “We will complete data collection in the summer of 2020,” he added.

According to him, enumerators will carry out field work first, before the actual count. The process thereafter will include the  Address Listing, which will begin next February before enumeration.

“During Address Listing, field staff will identify all places where people live on island using paper maps and address registers,” he shared. “Each field worker will be assigned to specific areas known as Basic Collection Units, or BCUs.” The territory is divided into BCUs, which has an address register, and groups of BCUs make up the village/county/district geography.

Samoa News has learned that field staff will also be visiting groups homes—- such as Hope House — as part of the census count.

Meleisea explained that in addition to counting people living in traditional housing units, they will also count Group Quarters and Transitory Locations. Group Quarters are service-based locations where people live, such as nursing homes, hospitals, and correctional facilities. “These facilities are typically owned or managed by an entity or organization providing housing and/or services for the residents,” he explained.

Transitory Locations are living quarters where people typically stay for only short periods. Possible transitory location types include marinas, hotels, and campgrounds.

Meleisea said all Group Quarters and Transitory Locations will be identified during Address Listing. “Then, a Special Enumeration team will conduct the count for these locations. The Special Enumeration Team will work with location managers/owners to make sure  all residents are counted.”

According to the Census Area Manager, many individuals have applied for multiple census jobs and have gone through testing and interviews. “We are maintaining the applications of those that have not been selected for consideration for other positions, as they become available,” he said.

All those who have applied for Census clerical jobs must take the evaluation test next Wednesday, Nov. 20 at 9:30 a.m to 11:00 a.m., at the Office of Youth and Women's Affairs in Pago Pago. These individuals are asked to be on site at least 15-20 minutes before test time.

Meleisea reiterated that Field Enumeration jobs - part-time, after-hours work - including crew leaders, crew leader assistants, and enumerators, will be tested and selected starting in mid-December 2019.

As previously reported by Samoa News, the hiring is done jointly by the Census Office and ASG’s Department of Human Resources.