By Ron VandenBoom
The year 2000 may be known mostly for computer bugs, massive celebrations, and concerns over world-wide catastrophes, but for a few the new millennium will also mean the start of the first census of the new millennium.
The first order of business is for the Census Bureau to recruit, hired and train 1,656 census takers throughout Montana and an additional 320 on Montana's Indian Reservations.
It is the strategy for the bureau to recruit people directly from the neighborhoods being counted. This is to ensure the most accurate census possible, census officials say.
"We are recruiting people to work within their neighborhoods because they are most familiar with the residents and their community," said Susan Lavin, Denver Regional Director. "Our goal is to have a pool of local people who want to work on Census 2000 and who are committed to a successful count in their neighborhood."
Information derived from the census are used as decision-making tools at all levels of government including the reapportionment of seats in the U.S. House of Representatives. They also aid in drawing federal, state and local legislative districts and school district boundaries.
Census figures can also be used to assist in land use planning, analyzing local trends in labor supply, urban planning, forecasting, and many other areas that require accurate statistical analysis.
Accurate census data can also aid local businesses by identifying potential markets and analyzing labor markets, using data on age, occupation, education and transportation. They provide new businesses information on branches, outlets, manufacturing centers and distribution points.
A census is mandated to be taken every 10 years by the U.S. Constitution. Anyone interested in becoming a census taker can call 406-268-8541 or the national toll-free line at 1-888-325-7733. Applicants much take a written test of basic job skills and be at least 18 years of age. Applicants must also pass a criminal background check.