U.S. Census Bureau workers will canvass areas in green in the coming weeks to verify addresses. (Courtesy/U.S. Census Bureau)

It's not 2020 yet, but the U.S. Census Bureau already has boots on the ground in Salem to prepare for its decennial count.

Census workers are canvassing across the U.S. to verify addresses before official surveys go out in March.

That means you may see workers knocking on doors across the Salem area and asking residents a few questions to verify the locations of homes, apartments, shelters and other places people live.


"We only have one chance every 10 years to get this right," said Zack Schwartz, deputy division chief with the Census Bureau, in a video announcing the operation.

Canvassing has started and will finish in mid-October, with workers out daily in the Salem area.

The 20 workers here speak English, Russian and Spanish, a Census Bureau spokesman said. Oregon has about 300 workers canvassing addresses.

The Census will be an important one for Oregon, which has seen a growing population. State officials believe the count could give Oregon a sixth U.S. House seat.

Census workers explain the address canvassing process

A full map of the areas being canvassed can be found here. The areas include blocks around Salem and Keizer, as well as larger swaths of northeast, west and deep south Salem.

Workers will carry photo identification and a bag and laptop bearing the Census 2020 logo. Anyone seeking to verify an employee's identity in Oregon can call the Los Angeles Regional Census Center at 213-314-6500.

In 2010, workers had to verify every address in the U.S. by hand, a task that took 150,000 workers. This time, the Bureau used satellite images to verify about two-thirds of addresses. The remaining third fall on a nationwide group of 40,000 temporary employees, hired from the communities they're canvassing.

Reporter Rachel Alexander: [email protected] or 503-575-1241.