Census Jobs - Taking the 2010 Census Practice Test

Recently I took the 2010 census employment test, so I thought I'd share my experience with taking the exam so you can prepare to take it yourself if you are interested in getting a census bureau job during the 2010 US Census.

The census employment test is basically the first step you need to take in order to get yourself hired to work the 2010 census and it's an extremely good idea to prepare for it by taking the census practice test first.

The Census Bureau will be hiring thousands of temporary employees across the United States to work on all aspects of the census, but the biggest job opportunity is the enumerator position -- the enumerators are the folks who go out into the field and visit people's homes.

US Census 2010
US Census 2010

Scheduling the Census Test

In order to get a job with the Census bureau, the first thing you need to do is give them a call and tell them you'd like to take the census jobs test.

If you call the national 800 number (1-866-861-2010), they will give you the phone number for your regional office. Call the regional office about taking the test and they'll ask you for your zip code and tell you where the next test is going to take place.

It's as easy as that. I called them on a Monday and took the test that Wednesday. One tip -- if you get voicemail at the Regional office, call them back instead of relying on them to call you. I wasn't able to schedule the test until I got an actual human to answer the phone.

2010 Census Jobs
2010 Census Jobs

Take the 2010 Census Practice Test

The census test itself is pretty simple and only a half hour long, but it can be deceptively tricky. What they are looking for is speed and attention to detail, so many of the answers are very similar.

Be sure to look closely at each answer. I had 27 answers right, but the wrong one was something ridiculously simple that I should never have gotten wrong. My eyes just didn't catch the difference between two answers that were nearly identical.

The test itself is 28 questions and you are only allowed a half hour to complete it. Questions are multiple choice and there are a variety of clerical, numerical (easy math), comprehension, decision making and map reading questions to be answered. If you have trouble reading maps, be sure to read my hub on reading the census test map for tips on how to follow the map and answer the questions.

I strongly recommend taking the Census Practice Test as the real test is identical in format and several of the questions are nearly the same as well. By doing the practice test, you'll already be familiar with what you need to do, so you won't need to sweat the fact that you only have 30 minutes. That will be plenty of time if you are prepared.

Get the Census Practice Test here. It's a PDF file and you should print it out, grab a pencil and time yourself on the test.

If you need more Census test help, I'm in the process of pulling together a website that will address a lot of the questions that tend to get asked in the comments about census jobs, the practice test and the real employment test.

At the Test Site

When you go to take the census test, be sure to allow about two hours. In addition to taking the test, the recruiter will have you complete a job application and will also check your identity documents. So bring two forms of ID or a US Passport with you to the test site.

In most cases, the recruiter will grade the tests while you wait so you'll know your score before you leave. I believe the passing score is 70%. Veterans also get either 5 or 10 points added to their score.

After that, it's time to wait. The Census bureau has projects on-going between now and the end of 2010, but it could be months before they call you, so be patient.

Comment Policy

Comments are currently unmoderated so folks will have a chance to ask and answer questions even when I'm not around to approve posts. As long as the comments remain spam-free and friendly, I'll keep them unmoderated. Most recent comments appear first.

Thanks for commenting! And for all of you who are so helpful with answers, thank you very much!

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rakoo profile image

rakoo 5 years ago from Midwest

My wife did it for 6 months, no like

dora 6 years ago

they are hiring the Field Representative next year, does anyone know anything about it?

Janice W 6 years ago

It's exciting to find out another source of information in sought of employment especically after reviewing the questionaires. Thank you for sharing.

However, it's kind of depressing to find out neither any guarantee nor other sources to be employed. Just keep the fingers crossed, right? Good Luck!

dora 6 years ago

I thought Census is only doing the 2010 survey, good to know they are doing other surveys too. Anyway, I had less than 20 hours of work last week, but something happened which makes me a little upset. Basically, I get a partner to go around our neighborhood, and we only get up to 6 attempts for each unit. He told me he did not work on a certain day, but looks like he claim that he did went to the houses, as he wrote down the time and date on the record. Now, we are left with only one attempt, I am really hoping we can get the completed questionnaire done.

Alo, embitca, I am looking forward to see your journal on how to apply for federal and state jobs. I saw on the state jobs website that we have to go all the way down to Sacramento (for California) to take the office assistant test. I am not sure if it's the only location though.

For people that are looking for jobs, maybe you can try to be a poll worker if there are any election going on at your county. Looks like they're paying between $95 and $180 for the day. But the first thing you need to do is register yourself as a voter.

fetty profile image

fetty 6 years ago from South Jersey

I worked for the Census Bureau last year; but to do a housing survey not the 2010 survey. I scored a 83% on that test because some of the questions were unclear. I received a 93% return on my surveys turned into the Philadelphia office. I was then retrained for a different survey, after waiting around for three months with no income. I asked my supervisor to find me a "survey" that would keep me busy about three days out of each week for at least three weeks per month. After enduring 4 full days of intensive training at the regional office and waiting another three weeks ; I was finally employed with one job that month. The next month I received two jobs. And in March I was given just one job again. My pay averaged $50 per week! I quit because I could not sit around waiting for more work with my bills piling up. I was never offered a 2010 Census job and I won two $100 awards for my efforts during the first survey. I used a nine year old program and God only knows how old labtop which shut down in 90' heat and was limping along. I was not never paid the higher rate that the '10 Census workers were to be paid - and until recently - I was still receiving letters as if I was still employed. My supervisor for the second survey was hired only for a limited time and was learning on the job as he was teaching the two of us. I worked at night , Saturdays and Sundays and went into extremely dangerous parts of cities and towns.

If we did not get paid for the gas; this job would not pay to do.

embitca profile image

embitca 6 years ago from Boston Author

Dora, hiring for state jobs varies from state to state. For Federal jobs, many of them are Civil Service and you need to take a Civil Service exam. I'll be putting together a hub at some point about where to find out more about Federal jobs and how to apply for them, etc.

dora 6 years ago

I wanna apply state or federal jobs, any suggestions and comments? Would like to know how is the test for office assistant positions.

Flavio Baker 6 years ago

We started training last Tuesday. As of right now, in my area, there will be no more hiring, unless some enumerators where to drop out.

There still is hope for some of you guys since there will be another short phase after this one, I believe it's called "Canvassing." Or something of the like.

RICH 6 years ago

Call your local office first. Many of them full and not hiring any more.

Kalo 6 years ago

I agree with that. Too many Enumerators in my area. But they say there could be 40% dropout. Do a good job and you might be asked to help in an area near that is having problems. Good luck... :)

dora 6 years ago

it's sad that the job is so short. It might be as short as one to two weeks for my area.....

kalo 6 years ago

This has already been said, and I don't have any Local Census Office knowledge, but if they have ALREADY hired enough for your Crew Leader District, and they don't have many drop-outs, I doubt they will call any more even if you have a perfect score. In other words if your NEIGHBORHOOD is staffed they won't call more. They won't hire you for an Enumerator position in another area because they have to pay mileage and it doesn't make sense to have someone driving across town. There is more than just your score considered for the initial hiring and replacement hiring. I really doubt calling them will help at all.

Hopeful 6 years ago

Can someone please tell me as of today, are there any more recruitments going on? I think its high time they changed the info on the website which still invites applications for the temporary Census 2010 jobs. That info now seems to be old/obsolete. Or they should at least keep the latest updates about the recruitment etc. on it. Does anyone else share this opinion with me?

Buddy 6 years ago

After my veteran preference (5pts), I scored 118% or 33/28. It has been two going on 3 weeks, and no phone call yet. Kind of disappoints me, there can't be to many that have out scored me. How long does it normally take to find out?

Miss 6 years ago

I had a perfect score, cleared the backbground check and have yet to get a call, when I know training started yesterday. Yet, I talked to our city clerk and she told me they are still setting up testing dates??? What's up? Why are they still testing when I was told I would only be called if others didn't show up??

censusfail 6 years ago

Censusguy, I understand your devotion to your work, and most of these arguments can go back and forth, but there a few things I would like to say.

I scored a 28 on test, am available every day at any hour, have reliable transportation and live in a city AND TRACT with a lower-than-average return rate, and we do not have many non-english speaking people in the area. There are no islands and no mountains. Let's take ME out this equation. There is no reason why a person like this should not be hired for this location. Even with perfect scores, the competition is very unlikely to have the same transportation and availability, at least not MOST of them. It doesn't add up.

Also, you are dead wrong about "EVERY corporation and business in the world" hiring like this. Serious candidates are never overlooked because they missed a phone call. Now granted, the Census jobs are different, so each individual applicant is not given very thorough consideration, but the fact is, you should get at least a day or two to call back if the Census wants to offer you a job. Anything less is unfair. Remember that this is VERY different than corporate hiring, and when you offer people jobs without even meeting them, you know that as well as I do.

As for the Census office allegedly knowing but not giving answers, anything less than an "I can't tell you" about something they can't tell you is a lie. It's dishonest. Period. We're not trying to get any government secrets, we just want to know simple answers to questions like "when will you start hiring for this phase?" or "have I missed a call from you?" If they don't know, then they don't know, which is a problem, especially if they act totally clueless, which they often do. But if they do know, and they are knowingly making you chase your tail, then that is a much bigger problem.

I think you have been very lucky if your regional office is working half as smoothly as you say it is, because your experience is not the norm. Yes, people make stuff up to get attention, but I have read hundreds of accounts, including many from the inside, that indicate extensive problems throughout the nation regarding the work and hiring for the 2010 Census. Many good workers have been hired, but so have many incompetent and disorganized people who tested poorly. On twitter alone, I have seen hundreds of people celebrate getting the job even though they clearly can't spell and can't go two words without swearing.

I understand that you have the experience to back up your claims, but I have done TONS of research over the months and you need to know that it's not as perfect as you think it is. This is the kind of the thing that we've come to expect, but I keep thinking it will improve and clearly, we're not there yet.

James Ford 6 years ago

@ Kalo

I've finally received the call from my crew leader yesterday (Sat.). I can easily walk to the "training center" from home.

Are they still looking for more crew leaders? I got the impression that mine didn't sound the least bit proficient when I spoke with her over the phone. I guess I'll find out tomorrow morning.

CensusGuy 6 years ago

Of course they should continue testing. If we average (based on previous census operations) that half of all our applicants aren't going to pass the test, then half of that aren't going to pass the background check, then half of those aren't going to meet our needs in terms of hours of availability, then half of those aren't going to show up to training, then half of those aren't going to complete training, and then half of those aren't going to cut it in terms of performance... then we need as many applicants as possible.

It's great that you keep up on your community's response rate. But it's more than just "insert city name" has returned 68% of the forms. We may need (and often do) a person with the highest test score, who is fluent in a certain language, who can work 6 am to 11 am, who has a 4 wheel drive vehicle or a boat and they HAVE to live within a certain track (for example, within a certain 4 radius).

So now knowing an example of what we are looking for, do you still think that we shouldn't be testing. We have a difficult enough time finding that first applicant who meets all our needs... why shouldn't we be trying to find a back up or a second? We can't just say, "okay, we've tested enough people. Looks like we'll have to take that person who doesn't speak vietnamese, have knowledge of the area, only works Sunday mornings, and will have to take a bus to the island. But hey, at least they got 100% on the test!"

As with any job, the census doesn't just take any warm body. I don't know of any employer who stops taking resumes once they've got a certain number of applicants who have a high school diploma.

And if we do have two applicants who are exactly even, who meet our needs in exactly the same way... why on earth would we then wait for one party to get around to calling us back at their convenience? If I have a job to fill and one person answers when I call and accepts the position, then that's that. The job is filled. It works that way in EVERY corporation and business in the world. And with a mass hiring, it's even more important to be efficient and get the position filled so the census can get going. Time wasted waiting for call backs, is tax dollars wasted.

You are not being strung along. You just are not privy to certain information about the process. They aren't allowed to tell you everything (or even many things about the hiring procedures). We are a federal organization, not a public one, and we aren't allowed to give out answers to particular questions. People giving you different answers is people trying to get around telling you what they aren't allowed to. Trust me, the person at the other end of that phone knows exactly what is going on.

Am I biased? Absolutely. Am I telling you everything that goes on behind the scenes? No, not even close. I'm not allowed to. But what I am saying is that the procedure is efficient and is working perfectly.

All I can say at this point is that you probably don't meet the needs of the positions open in your particular area (and no, you don't... you haven't a clue of what it is they are looking for. And they aren't going to tell you, no matter how many times you call. Because they AREN'T allowed to.) It's great that you got a perfect score, but just because YOU aren't hired, doesn't mean the hiring process is in a shambles.

censusfail 6 years ago


1. You are clearly biased due to your employment with the census, so your matter-of-fact opinion is suspect.

2. I know all about response rate. I've been tracking it on the Census web site for weeks. The response rate in my area is below the national average, and they are still testing.

3. If the jobs are full, they should STOP TESTING and deal with any upcoming vacancies by utilizing the thousands of people who have already taken the test instead of giving more people false hope. If you are only hiring perfect scores, you are allowing way too many people to test. I say this as someone who aced the test and have not been called.

4. The local office told me that they decide each week whether more testing should be done the following week. So it follows that if they decide "Yes, we should test more people," that should mean that as of that week, there were not enough "acceptable" applicants and thus, people with perfect scores that week SHOULD BE HIRED. If that is not the case, once again, STOP TESTING.

5. I have not once been "snotty" to the people at the census office. I have been respectful and calm, but am amazed at how little the workers know about what is going on. Every time I have called, they have given me incorrect answers about hiring time frames, supervisor exams and test scores. I have heard nothing but misinformation and "I don't know." The census website even says you can call about the status of your application, but the people at the local offices do not allow it.

6. If the hiring was done in a professional way, then there would not be people all over the country saying that they missed a call and were told that their "place" had been filled before they had a chance to call back. No one hires this way. Ever.

7. The census is not a sham, but the hiring process is clearly in shambles. I would love to serve my country, and I am not one of the raving lunatics who thinks that the census is going to put us in death camps. I think the census is important. The problem is that the hiring process makes no sense and does nothing but string people along with no end in sight. The person who administered my first test (I got a 27 the first time) told me NOT to take it again because my score was good enough.

CensusGuy 6 years ago

The mass training begins on Tuesday. We expect a good percentage to either not show up, drop out of training, or be let go for poor performance within the first few days. All local offices will then be hiring to fill those positions. And they will also be hiring for the follow-up canvassing that takes place after this initial phase. Aaaand then the phase after that.

So don't give up hope. Many people decide that this job either isn't what they expected, is too difficult, isn't challenging enough, take too much/too little time, that we fully expect to have hire thousands to take their places within the next couple of weeks.

@censusfail, perhaps they had enough people in your area. Hiring depended on response rate. The more people that return the questionnaire by mail, the few enumerators needed. Hundreds upon hundreds of thousands of applicants got a perfect score on the test. And if you called a census office with a snotty, demanding air of entitlement, I'm not surprised that people didn't want to go out of their way to help you out. The hiring process is completely legitimate. The census is not a sham. And the hardworking people at the local offices who have to deal with thousands of calls from beligerant people demanding information are the most professional people I've ever been lucky enough to work with.

Good luck to you all.

kalo 6 years ago

Oops, I see your date is this Monday. Your crew leader probably finished training on Friday and got the list of enumerators. I would expect a call today. Not the best I agree. It's a big operation with lots of little problems. One definitely needs to be a bit flexible with this work. There is a system in place, but just one worker at an office, that has been there two weeks, could mess up and throw things off for everyone. I'm a crew leader and we got our lists on Thurs and I made calls Friday. All of my people had been called a few days before from the Local Census office. Most of the enumerators I talked with had the correct info, but a couple had wrong start time. I just worry this will go very fast and the Enumerators will be not thrilled with just two maybe three weeks work. There were 19 people on my list initially we are down to 15 already.

kalo 6 years ago


Seems your class will be for new enumerators to replace others who have dropped out. They said there is likely to be 40% of enumerators dropping out for what ever reasons.

They probably have a Leader to train your class, but locations can be difficult to secure. The census is using free locations that take some time finding. They said they will call you and you will get the location at that time. Seems reasonable to me.

kalo 6 years ago


It's possible they already had enough people from your neighborhood selected prior to your test.

James Ford 6 years ago

@ censusfail

For what it's worth... I was offered the enumerator position 8 days ago and asked to commit myself from Apr. 26th-29th for training. I was told to wait for a phone call to let me know of a location to report to. As of today, I've yet to receive that phone call and training begins in two days. Yesterday, I made a follow-up call where I wasn't even asked for my name and was told to still expect a call over this weekend. Go figure. I agree it's a very disorganized system.

censusfail 6 years ago

Since people have decided to stop being helpful and share their stories on this site, I'm just going to have my say. I got a perfect score on the census test and have not heard anything. I've been waiting for months and every time I call the local office, I get the run-around by people who know NOTHING about what is actually going on. The whole thing is a sham. There's no excuse for this. Why even have a test if people who pass it with flying colors never get contacted? They might as well pick names out of a hat. It's the most unprofessional hiring system I've ever seen.

dora 6 years ago

I live in bay area, CA. They've already stop the test taking one month ago. The hiring of enumerators for going to people's home has already started here. I went to the training few days ago for filling out the papers. For my current and previous group (I was re-hired), all of my team members are U.S citizens, as I can see by what passport they brought to the training date. I am not sure if they're still hiring enumerators for my area, as the "lecture" training starts next week.

still waiting 6 years ago

Is anyone out there who got a perfect score still waiting for a call? If so, how long ago did you take the test?

Jean 6 years ago

This is the only site where I get somewhat latest info about Census 2010 job hiring progress. Its frustrating to wait without even knowing it is worth waiting for. People, please keep sending latest info about hiring. Can any one tell me if any non-citizen so far has been offered the job?

chris 6 years ago

Finally got that 28. Does anyone know if people are still being hired? I assume that if they are still scheduling tests, then they will hire high scores out of the current test groups, but I won't be surprised if I don't get a call.

dora 6 years ago

To Kalo,

I am not a Crew Leader, but I am an Enumerator. As what I've observed, my Crew Leader usually works full-time, since he was the one who arrange the operation for the group. I don't know about if they are on call, but I can say I am. Since there were a few times that I or some other group members got a call in the very last minutes to show up for an operation. Hope that helps.

chris 6 years ago

I got a 26 back in January, no call. I took it again today and got a 27. It looks like that Jim and Bob got me again. I'm going to try again on Monday and hopefully, I'll get that one right.

Kalo 6 years ago

Congrats James... I've been training this week for a Crew Leader position. Next week was supposed to be self-study for the week, but a couple FOSs in our area want to bring in all of the enumerators over a few days to fingerprint and do admin training next week.. the week before we do their training. If anyone can answer. It seems crew leaders will be almost "on call" 7 days a week. Is that the way other crew leaders see it? Seems there should be some plan to have actual days off.. Maybe the ACL (assistant) can cover on a few days, with big problems going to the FOS. Any other crew leaders have experience with this? thanks..

James Ford 6 years ago

^^^ Please excuse my poor grammar. I'm still quite excited.

James Ford 6 years ago

Hey Everyone! I just got called and offered an enumerator position (in NYC) a few hours ago. If it wasn't for this site and you guys chiming in, I would've not have gone back to take the test for a second time. Thanks!!!

worried 6 years ago

Does anyone know if the census is actually still hiring? I know they're still offering testing some areas, but activity here and on twitter regarding census jobs has dropped off considerably in the last few days. I live in Cleveland, Ohio, but the only people I really see talking about it on the web are from Texas and California. I called the local office, but they don't seem to know anything.

NJ 6 years ago

Just took the test at a community church, while right in the next room there was a very loud organ playing with choir singing. I ended up getting 25/28 but I barely had enough time to finish because it was so hard to focus. I am not one to complain but I feel that everyone in the room was at a disadvantage... they should at least keep the testing areas quiet to be fair to all applicants!

Gary 6 years ago

I was just told that the test is not available for me to even schedule this week because of my zipcode. The coordindator at 240-780-3950 said he had no idea if and when I may get a chance to schedule for the test. Can anyone help make sense of this to me?

Thank you.


bratti 6 years ago

I am confused about question 7 - is the correct answer "Illegal" or "Unofficial" according to the Census people?

ABCDE 6 years ago

Ayaan, you want to take the test now? I am afraid they are no longer offering test sections. You'd better call to find out ASAP.

Ayaan 6 years ago

I really want take the test, but am kind of scare, do anyone can tell me what kind of test it is ????????????, I really want this job so badly

CensusGuy 6 years ago

The local offices are still hiring. The soft deadline for mail back of questionaires is April 12. It is then that they begin counting who has not responded and in which areas and then they can get a more accurate picture of how many enumerators are needed. They are trying not to overhire in advance.

And a friendly word of advice... please don't call your local office and demand to know when you are being hired. NO jobs are guarenteed. We are astounded on a daily basis by the rude, impatient people who call and berate us or the system. If you've applied for a job, you are speaking to a potential employer and please be professional. And remember the people on the other end of the line cannot in any way manipulate the selection program. If you come up as eligible, then you come up as eligible.

Good luck to everybody.

dora 6 years ago

To Kalo, you can dress casual such as jeans, pants, t-shirts, sweater, etc. But if you are visiting shelters, you cannot wear any jewelry and don't wear anything fancy. "Low profile" is the key. For my area, they do not provide phones, but you can print or get a copy of your phone bill statement to claim the minutes that you used for work related purpose. If you are a crew leader, I assume you'll have some time to do paper work at the office, you can also use the phone while you're there. Hope that helps.

nancyJ 6 years ago

Called yesterday for enumerator position in Chicago suburbs. Don't give up if not called yet.

Kalo 6 years ago

Can anyone who has recently worked for the census indicate if there is a Dress Code? I was offered a Crew Leader position beginning Apr 12. Also, are people expected to use our own cell phones for these jobs? I can imagine as a crew leader one will be making lots of calls.. Do they provide phones? Just curious and want to know what to expect. I use a T-mobile plan with only 300 min and not text messages! I'm sure that won't cut it if I have to use my own phone.. ;) I don't need guesses... please just if you have first hand knowledge. Thanks!

dora 6 years ago

I was told few minutes ago that if you were hired as an Enumerator, there's no way that you can work as a clerk later, even if the Enumeration job ended. It is called demotion to transfer from Enumerator, which is a higher paid position, to a clerk, which is a lower paid position. So for anyone who only wants to be a clerk, you can just reject other positions when they call you.

Kevin 6 years ago

For those who got the offer, did they offer traning on both weekdays and weekends? Or you must attend the weekend training? Thank you.

censusboy 6 years ago

I scored 28/28 on my 2nd shot (1st time=26/28). waiting for the call from the san francisco office.

Hailey 6 years ago

Chris, You're welcome. I know how frustrating this whole process is for everyone. I had just about given up that a call would come. Out of the blue this afternoon, rinnggg. Good luck to you and I hope your call comes very soon. Hang in there!

Chris 6 years ago


Thank you for posting this! It's hard to be positive about waiting for a call that may never come, but if more people would provide updates like this, it would certainly lessen the anxiety.

Hailey 6 years ago

Just got called today (April 6) for an enumerator position in NE Oklahoma. I took the test way back in January and made a 26 with no Veteran's points. The lady said it would be 6-8 weeks of work, 35 to 40 hours per week, $13.50 an hour plus 50 cents per mile mileage. To those of you who haven't been called yet, they are still calling! Don't give up hope.

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