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Utilize your language skills with the U.S. Census Bureau

Close-up of a messenger bag with U.S. Census Bureau information on the outside. The person wearing the bag is approaching a house.

[Source: U.S. Census Bureau]

The year 2020 will bring with it the next decennial census. That means the Census Bureau is well underway hiring support staff across the country. If you speak another language, you may be in very high demand for a job in your community.

In 1980, 1990, and 2000, the census asked households about languages spoken:

a. Does this person speak a language other than English at home?

  • Yes
  • No

b. What is this language? (For example: Korean, Italian, Spanish, Vietnamese)

c. How well does this person speak English?

  • Very well
  • Well
  • Not well
  • Not at all
Detailed map showing density of Haitian language speakers across the United States
[Source: U.S. Census Bureau]


According to the Census Bureau, “Federal agencies, organizations, local governments, and private enterprises rely on American Community Survey language data to determine how and where to provide language assistance service. Knowing languages spoken in a community, in combination with information about housing, voting, employment, and education, helps the government and communities identify needs for services for people with limited English-speaking ability.” For example, this data helps communities understand the need for language interpreters and written foreign language materials at places like polling locations, courts, and other places such as the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV).

The Census Bureau also collects language data on an annual basis through the American Community Survey (ACS). To view data from both the census, taken every ten years, and the ACS, you can visit the U.S. Census Bureau’s section on Language Use.

A multilingual and culturally competent workforce is crucial to the success of the 2020 census, and that’s where you come in. If you speak another language and live in one of the communities hiring for specific language skills, consider applying today. Here are some of the positions currently posted on USAJobs:

To learn more about the United States Census, visit their website at To look for other positions in the federal government, including those that require language skills, visit USAJobs.

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