Maine officials for the U.S. Census Bureau are gearing up for a massive hiring hunt — 1,500 people in the Lewiston and Portland areas over the next few months.

And those jobs, covering York, Cumberland and Oxford counties and the southern parts of Androscoggin County, will pay better than in the rest of the state.

“And since Portland and Lewiston are the two most populated parts of our area, we’re looking for about half in Portland and half in Lewiston-Auburn,” said Kelsey Robinov, manager for the southern Maine office of the Census Bureau.

Most of the jobs are for enumerators, people who will go door to door beginning May 1, completing census questionnaires. Those jobs will pay $14.50 per hour, Robinov said, plus a 50-cents-per-mile car stipend.

That’s a higher rate than is scheduled to be paid to enumerators in the rest of Maine, specifically those working out of the other two Census offices, in Bangor and Waterville. Enumerators out of those offices will be paid $13.25, Robinov said.

The Waterville office will include enumerators working in Franklin County and the northern part of Androscoggin County.

The jobs are temporary and short term, lasting between four and eight weeks beginning this spring.

Robinov said the bureau would begin mailing census questionnaires to residents of the urban parts of the state in March. Enumerators will begin hand-delivering questionnaires to addresses in rural areas — including most of Oxford County — at the same time.

Enumerators will begin going door to door in May, collecting the questionnaires that have not been returned.

“It’s much easier and much less expensive for us if more people mail them back,” Robinov said. “So, if you don’t want us knocking on your door, just put them in your mailbox.”

People interested in the jobs should call the Census Bureau’s toll free number, 1-866-861-2010. They will have to schedule a time to take a qualifications exam. Enumerators will be hired based on their location, test scores, availability and special language skills. Veterans will be given a hiring preference, she said.

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