How to Become a Census Geographer

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How to Become a Census Geographer: Career Path Guide

If you want to become a census geographer, you first need to determine if this career path is a good fit for you. If the following description sounds like you, then you’re probably well suited for a career as a census geographer:


• You are interested in human geography 

• You have at least a bachelor’s degree in Geography or a related field

• You are proficient in GIS software

• You pay close attention to detail when working

• You enjoy compiling and organizing information


Below we've outlined what you'll need to begin a career as a census geographer. We've also included helpful information for this career, such as job description, job duties, salary expectations, a list of possible employers and much more!



Education Needed to Become a Census Geographer

In order to become a census geographer, you typically need a bachelor’s degree in geography or a directly related discipline, although many employers prefer to hire candidates that have a master’s degree.


Coursework that is relevant to a career as a census geographer includes:


• Photogrammetry

• Computer Science

• Land Surveying

• Physical Geography

• Remote Sensing

• Statistics

• Anthropology

• Urban Studies and Urban Planning

• Geography

• Maps and Map Use

• Economic Geography

• Quantitative Methods in Geography

• Principles of Cartography

• Computer Mapping

• Cultural Geography

• Transportation Networks

• Principles of Map Design




Census Geographer Job Description

Census geographers prepare highly specialized maps, reports and files of geographic data, primarily for use in government population Census studies. The maps, reports and data prepared by census geographers are commonly used for a variety of applications, including:


• Marketing research

• Human geography research

• Determining electoral boundaries

• Determining the amount of elected officials per area

• Transportation planning

• Urban planning


Information prepared by census geographers might help determine where schools are constructed or where new transit routes are placed. The data they produce is also used in some countries used to determine the number of representatives a given community will have in government; it may also include data about the country’s agricultural and business sectors.



Census Geographer Job Duties

• Analyze data to provide current information for use in geographic publications

• Work on countrywide cartographic and geographic databases

• Plan and monitor field operations that involve updating maps and lists of addresses for jurisdictions across the country

• Write instructions and prepare training packages for use by field supervisors and staff

• Plan, coordinate and monitor field operations, which involve recording and mapping rural addresses across the country

• Update maps and distribute Census questionnaires to households across the country



Who Creates Jobs for Census Geographers?

Census geographers are employed on a part-time, full-time and contractual basis by public and private organizations that develop specialized maps and files of geographic data for use in population Census studies.


Types of organizations that hire Census Geographers include:


• Municipal, provincial/state and federal government departments, including municipal planning

• Consulting companies, such as cartography consulting companies

• Colleges and universities

• Public and private research organizations

• Marketing companies 





Census Geographer Job Opportunities

Census Geographer Jobs - Canada


Census Geographer Jobs - United States






Census Geographer Salary

The level of earnings for census geographers can vary depending on their qualifications and the specific responsibilities of their job.


Census Geographer Salary Alberta: According to the 2011 Alberta Wage and Salary Survey, Albertans working in the Other Professional Occupations in Social Science* occupational group earn an average of between $43.12 and $58.21 per hour.


Census Geographer Salary Canada: According to Service Canada, the average salary level of Canadians working in the Other Professional Occupations in Social Science, n.e.c. occupational group is $54,718 per year.


Census Geographer Salary United States: According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median salary level of American workers in the Geographers occupational group is $74,760 per year.


*Although there is no reliable salary information available specifically for Census Geographers, we can get a good idea of what they earn by looking at the income level of closely related occupations.



Skills and Traits Needed to Become a Census Geographer

In order to become effective in a career as a census geographer, you need to posses a certain set of skills and personality traits. These skills and traits will allow you to perform your job duties with competence and maintain a positive attitude towards your work. As a result, many employers list these as desired attributes on Census Geographer job postings.


• Enjoy compiling information and data

• An interest in determining how people and their activity are distributed in an area

• An energetic approach to work activities

• Strong oral and written communication skills

• Able to develop attractive/effective reports, presentations and materials using current technology

• Proficient using GIS software

• Proficient in creating and manipulating digital images in GIS software

• Knowledge and understanding of Microsoft Excel/Access

• Able to interpret and use relevant scientific information (to assist in planning and development for example)

• May require knowledge of Adobe Illustrator and other Adobe Suite products

• Thorough understanding of geographical principles and statistical techniques



Census Geographer Jobs

Our job board below has "Census Geographer" postings in Canada, the United States, the United Kingdom and Australia.

Careers Similar to Census Geographer

Listed below are careers in our database that are similar in nature to Census Geographer, as they may involve many of the same skills, competencies and responsibilities.




Geographic Information Systems (GIS) Specialist

Map Editor

Urban Planner



References: How to Become a Census Geographer

Please consult the references below to find more information on the various aspects of a career as a census geographer.


Alberta Learning and Information Service website:

United States Bureau of Labor Statistics website:

United States Census Bureau website:



Scholarships for Becoming a Census Geographer

Scholarships listed for majors that apply to becoming a Census Geographer can be found on our Geography Scholarships page.


Success Tip: Be sure to apply for any scholarships that you even barely qualify for, as there are millions of dollars of scholarships that go unused every year due to a lack of applicants!



Becoming a Census Geographer: Applicable Majors

Studying one of the university majors listed below is an excellent starting point to becoming a census geographer. Click on the links to find out what else you can do with these majors!



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