By Tim Leeds
Ninety people or more will be working on the Hi-Line for the U.S. Census 2000.
The initial team for the first part of the census has already been hired and received training last week. The census began March 3.
Jim Sargent of Chester is the area field operations supervisor. Tim Mack, the manager for Census 2000 Central Montana out of Great Falls, said Sargent will be supervising about 80 enumerators and 8-10 supervisor/crew leaders in the first part of the census.
Mack said that the reservations are excluded from Sargent's area. The reservations have separate and independent operations under this census, he said.
Mack said his Great Falls census office has hired about 650 people for the census. He said they expect to be hiring census workers through April or May.
There are regional census offices in Billings and Missoula as well as the Great Falls office.
In this census, wages for the census takers will not be included to compute welfare, allowing low-income people to work without reducing their welfare benefits.
From March 3 to March 30, the census takers will be doing an update leave. They will deliver deliver census questionnaires to households that are in predominantly noncity-style mail delivery areas.
Mack said in this stage the census workers will just deliver questionnaires to be filled out and mailed back in post-paid envelopes provided. He said the questionnaires will be hand-delivered if the residents are at home, or left on the door-knob if they are not.
The census workers will not stay to help fill the questionnaires out, Mack said.
Mack said that 90-95 percent of census questionnaires in the Hi-Line area will be included in this. He said whether they are delivered in this fashion or by mail is determined by several factors, including population and postal situations.
The second stage, beginning on March 13 and running through April, is the list enumerate stage. In this stage, census workers will conduct interviews, fill out a questionnaire for each housing unit, add the unit to an address list, and spot it on a census map.
Mack said this will be a relatively small operation for his office. He said it will be more significant out of the Billings office, where they cover the highly rural sections of eastern Montana.
From March 13 to March 15, the U.S. Postal Service will also be delivering questionnaires to some areas where the housing units have city-style addresses. From April 27 through the first week of July, census workers are scheduled to conduct a non-response follow-up operation. Census workers will visit housing units which have not returned their questionnaires.
Mack said the census office keeps a large pool of replacements on file. He said as workers find permanent jobs or move out of an area, they have to be replaced with other workers immediately due to the deadlines involved.