ST. PAUL, Minn. — This spring, census workers will be knocking on doors as the 2020 nationwide count rolls out.

But many of these jobs still need to be filled, and seniors are being encouraged to help with the gap.

The U.S. Census Bureau says it hopes to hire 500,000 people to ensure a complete count of residents across the country.

But hiring is still lagging in some areas, including Minnesota.

Jennifer Baier, census lead for AARP, says these jobs are great for seniors, especially at a time when many are dealing with higher living expenses.

“A lot of people over the age of 50 are living on a limited or set income,” she points out. “So, this is a great way to get a little bit of extra money.”

In Minnesota, the pay range for census takers is between $17 and $24 an hour. According to census hiring data issued this month, nearly 20 Minnesota counties are only at the halfway stage of meeting their recruitment goals.

Bureau officials cite a stronger economy when compared with the 2010 count as potential factors behind the lag in hiring.

Baier says in addition to earning some extra money, AARP members would be doing a big service to their communities.

She says getting enough people to fan out and knock on doors would help to avoid an undercount, which would affect congressional funding.

“If we’re undercounted here, the funds will go to another state or another community,” Baier points out.

Baier says Congress will use the count as guide in distributing $675 billion in federal funding. Minnesota officials estimate the state receives more than $15 billion a year based on census data.