Census-takers sought to work out of the Bureau's Olympia office

Today is Census Day, and for the 23rd time since 1790, the federal government is taking a numerical snapshot of everyone in America.

In fact, temporary employees at offices in Olympia and several other cities were already at work in March to count people who otherwise might be missed.

Some of these offices still are looking for more counters. Among them is Thurston County’s office, which still has more than 1,000 jobs available, Seattle-area Census spokeswoman Cecilia Sorci said Wednesday.

The compensation varies from office to office. Starting pay for enumerators in Olympia and Silverdale, for example, is $13.25. In Pierce County, it’s $17.50 an hour.

Census-takers will be trained the last week of April, said Susan Ross, the manager of the Tacoma Census Bureau office.

“Then we will start hitting the pavement, knocking on doors the first of May,” she said.

Ten-question Census forms were mailed last month to 134 million U.S. households.

The every-decade population count is used to apportion 435 seats in Congress and disburse some $400 million in federal dollars nationwide for roads, schools, hospitals and other services.

And, yes, people were urged to fill them out and mail them back before today – even though the official “count” date is today.

Today is more of a reference point, Census officials say. It’s also a good time to prod you if you haven’t turned your form in yet, they add.