The 2020 Census is in the midst of a hiring boom.

"The U.S. Census Bureau is in need of 500,000 people to conduct the census in every community across the country," said Lindy Studds, media specialist with the Field Division of the Atlanta Regional Office of the U.S. Census Bureau, in an email. "This is the largest peacetime mobilization in America, and the U.S. Census Bureau is on the verge of becoming one of the largest gig employers in the nation."

Jobs include census takers, recruiting assistants, office staff and supervisory staff. To be eligible, residents must be at least 18 years old, have a valid Social Security number and be a U.S. citizen.

“Whether you’re looking to earn some extra cash or pay down your student debt, our part-time positions are a great way to do that,” said Census Bureau Director Steven Dillingham in a news release. “What better way to earn some extra money and help shape the future of your community for the next 10 years than with the 2020 Census?”

The pay rate for a census taker position in Aiken County is listed as $15.50 per hour, according to the 2020 Census website

"Census takers also receive reimbursement for work-related mileage and expenses, where applicable," according to the website. "Most positions are anticipated to last several weeks, but employment may end at any time or hours of work may be reduced if there is a lack of available work."

To apply, candidates must complete an online job application. The application includes assessment questions about a candidate's education, work and other experience.

“Aside from Puerto Rico, that has already received enough applicants to fill all jobs in the Commonwealth, every other area throughout the nation needs more applicants right now,” said Timothy Olson, Census Bureau associate director for Field Operations, in a news release. “With low unemployment, the Census Bureau is taking extraordinary efforts to attract enough applicants to fill nearly 500,000 positions this spring.”

Census takers are critical for their communities during the 2020 Census – going door to door to collect responses from households who have not responded online, by phone or by mail.

“Our aim is to reach interested applicants right now, inform them of updated pay rates in their area, and get them into the applicant pool to be considered for these critical jobs,” said Olson. “The hiring process occurs in stages, and we are encouraging everyone to apply right now before selections begin in January and February. Most census taker jobs begin training and work this spring.”

The Census Bureau wants to make sure that every address in the nation receives an invitation in March 2020 to respond to the census.

Work schedules will depend on positions.

"Generally, hours for field positions are flexible. Some field positions require you to work during the day so you can see addresses on buildings. Other field positions require you to interview members of the public, so you must be available to work evenings and weekends, when people are usually at home," according to the website.

Olson said that people who work as census takers seem to love the job and making a difference in their communities.

“It’s crazy how this gets in your blood and you see the same people coming back decade after decade,” he said. “It’s an amazing experience.”

The field office for Aiken County is located in Columbia.

The U.S. Constitution mandates that a census of the population be conducted every 10 years. Census statistics are used to determine the number of seats each state holds in the U.S. House of Representatives and inform how state, local and federal lawmakers will allocate billions of dollars in federal funds to local communities every year for the next 10 years.

For more information, visit www.2020census.gov.