Why I turned down a Census job (but where you can take the test this week)

Not the author (either person)
Not the author (either person)

In the couple of weeks since we ran our first post on getting a Census job, at least two of us at Brokelyn have pursued this decennial civil-service gold mine: this reporter here, and me. As far as I can tell, the testing and application process is pretty standard: one federally-long application form, 28 multiple choice Qs and some likely-scripted one-liners from the Census Bureau tester. It was a painless experience, and like my Brokelyn colleague, I scored well (although, also like her, I am neither bi-lingual nor a veteran, so I knew my score meant only so much). But lo and behold, six days later, I got the call for an interview at my Local Census Office in Flatbush. The job: a full-time position as an in-office Census clerk.

After the test a few days earlier, I knew a few things about possible jobs: 1) There are in-office positions and enumerator (door-to-door) positions; 2) Jobs last anywhere from four to 20 weeks; and 3) Pay ranges from about $14 to $21 an hour. I had wanted an office position going-in, so I was pleased with my interview call. I also assumed the office positions paid at the higher end of the spectrum (the Census tester had said that most jobs pay $18.75/hr, which I assumed were the enumerators. I was expecting closer to the $21 as a rarer in-office person).

So, interview day. I showed up and eventually was led inside through a crowded room where everything-Census was going on. There were trainings, tests, phone calls, data-entry. We got to a small conference room in back, where I met my interviewer and followed her inside.

The interview was a bare-bones thing, the interviewer checking “yes” or “no” boxes in a form. Had I used a computer before? Yes. Could I keep private information private? Yes. The job pays $14.25 an hour—was I still interested? Yes…?

My hesitation grew when I heard the words evening/weekend hours and data entry. My interviewer explained the low pay: Office jobs last the longest (at least eight weeks), so they pay the lowest; enumerator jobs are the shortest, so they pay the $18.75. Who gets the $21, I have no idea.

In the end, I didn’t take the job. Cash is cash, and I need it, but after-hours data entry is not how I want to spend my evenings—not for $14 an hour anyway. If you’re up for it though—that or the door-to-door job—take the test, and when you get to the interview, the job’s as good as yours. Just say “yes.”

Here’s where the census tests are happening this week, courtesy of Brokelyn’s secret Census tipster:

Testers should bring a pencil and black or blue ink pen, 2 forms of ID, (one photo, one birth certificate, SS card, or passport) and arrive 15 – 30 minutes before the exam time to fill out their paper work.


Dr. White Community Center – 200 Gold St.
Monday – 10am 1pm

Goodwill Cornerstone Community Center – 228 York St.
Monday-Friday – 7pm

Ft. Greene:

Walt Whitman Library – 93 St. Edwards St.
Monday – 2pm
Friday – 2pm

University Settlement Community Center – 177 Myrtle Ave.
Tuesday-Friday – 7pm
Saturday – 12pm, 2pm

Boerum Hill:

Pacific Branch Library – 25 Fourth Ave

Monday, Wednesday – 2pm & 4pm

Bethel Baptist Church – 265 Bergen St.
Tuesday, Thursday – 12pm

Sunset Park:

Chinese American Planning Council – 4101 Eighth ave
Monday – 11am
Wednesday – 10:30 am, 5pm

Turning Point – 5220 Fourth Ave.
Monday – 4:30pm
Friday – 10am

Center For Family Life – 443 39th St.
Monday – 2pm
Wednesday – 2pm
Friday – 2pm

Beit El Meqdes Center – 6224 Sixth Ave.
Wednesday – 12pm, 2:30pm
Thursday – 11:30am, 2:30pm

Brooklyn Chinese Association – 5002 Eighth Ave.
Thursday – 4pm

Light & Love Home – 812 54th St.
Friday – 10:30am
Saturday – 10:30am, 1:30pm

Sunset Park Library – 5108 Fourth Ave.
Friday – 12pm

Chen Xin 668 Development – 5805 Eighth Ave. 3rd Floor
Friday – 4pm
Saturday – 10:30am, 1:30pm

Pershing Jr. High School – 4812 Ninth Ave.
Saturday – 12pm

Park Slope:

Career & Educational Consultants – 270 Flatbush Ave.
Wednesday – 10am

South Slope:

Al Noor School – 675 Fourth Ave.
Tuesday-Friday – 6pm
Saturday – 12pm, 2:30pm

Windsor Terrace:

Windsor Terrace Library – 160 E. 5th St.
Monday – 4pm
Thursday – 4pm

Red Hook:

Red Hook Pool & Recreation Center – 155 Bay St.
Tuesday – 11am
Thursday – 11am

Red Hook Community Justice Center – 88 Visitation Place
Tuesday – 3pm

Red Hook Library – 7 Wolcott St.
Tuesday – 6pm

Borough Park:

Masabia Soup Kitchen – 4114 14th Ave.
Tuesday – 11am
Thursday – 11am

Borough Park Library – 1265 43rd St.
Tuesday – 12pm, 3pm

Mapleton Public Library – 1702 60th St.
Thursday – 2pm, 4pm

Clinton Hill:

Child Development Services Corp. – 352 Classon Ave.
Tuesday – 1:30pm
Thursday – 2pm
Saturday – 10 am, 1pm

Clinton Hill Library – 380 Washington Ave.
Saturday – 2pm

Downtown Brooklyn

Brooklyn Center For Independence For The Disabled – 27 Smith St.
Thursday – 10am

Carroll Gardens Library – 396 Clinton St.
Saturday – 1pm
Friday – 10am, 2pm

Gowanus Canal Community Development – 509 Court St.
Friday – 10am

Prospect Heights

Central Library – Grand Army Plaza
Saturday – 11am, 1pm, 4pm

Council Of People’s Organization – 1081 Coney Island Ave.
Thursday – 6pm
Friday – 3pm

Brooklyn Heights

Business Library – 280 Cadman Plaza West.
Friday – 4pm


  1. I took the test. Scored what the Census person said was very high and I should expect a call. What I got instead was a letter saying I needed to get them my fingerprints b/c I came up weird on an FBI thingy. Never been arrested no issues w/ the law and I get this. The fed govt. sucks!

  2. Yeah, this Mark guy sounds like a loser.

    I’m heading to the Census job and man, I could definitely use the money. I’ve been selling T-shirts with a friend of mine for the last 3 months, and for $14/hour, I would be more than happy to have another job.

    Of course, I’m a young Polish guy (non-Jewish) without any good connections here in NYC, so I’ll be glad to go door-to-door or do data entry. It’s a shame I bothered going to college, too.

  3. Brittney

    I’ve been working for the census for four weeks and I was enjoying it until I kept on getting a bunch of people refusing to do it. And if they don’t, we have to go to the neighbors and ask information from them & they in return are usually reluctant to complete the questionnaire with me. Which I can’t really blame them, because I wouldn’t want to be giving out information about my neighbors (who refused in the first place to give their information). Other than that, it’s a good job, especially considering how much you get paid. And wow, I wish I could make that much, I only get S11.21 an hour where I live.

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