cen·​sus | \ ˈsen(t)-səs How to pronounce census (audio) \

Definition of census

1 : a count of the population and a property evaluation in early Rome
2 : a usually complete enumeration of a population specifically : a periodic governmental enumeration of population According to the latest U.S census, 16% of the population is of Hispanic or Latino origin.
3 : count, tally a census of deer in a game refuge

Other Words from census

census transitive verb

Synonyms for census


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Examples of census in a Sentence

According to the latest census, the racial makeup of the town has changed dramatically in the last 50 years. a thorough census of all the grizzly bears living within the national park
Recent Examples on the Web In 2020, the U.S. census counted 64 county residents of all ages. New York Times, 2 Aug. 2022 Residential building-permit data from the U.S. census shows that Austin and Seattle have both approved construction for more than three times as many housing units per person as San Francisco since 2015. Adriana Rezal, San Francisco Chronicle, 1 Aug. 2022 The militia is becoming a consistent presence in rural Mariposa County southeast of Sacramento with a population of 17,131 scattered across 14 towns, according to the 2010 U.S. census. Chiara Sottile, NBC News, 29 July 2022 The number living in unincorporated areas of the county rose from 42,483 to 44,795, according to the U.S. census. Tracy Neal, Arkansas Online, 29 July 2022 The median income in Missoula County in 2020 was $56,257, according to the U.S. census. Anne Branigin, Washington Post, 27 July 2022 Many of the California Democrats in the program are running in districts made more favorable in the redrawing of congressional maps after the U.S. census. Seema Mehta, Los Angeles Times, 18 July 2022 What would be neat — from an analyst’s point of view, anyway — is if the U.S. census asked about people’s religion. Andy Larsen, The Salt Lake Tribune, 18 June 2022 This year is the first time in decades primaries have been this late in the year, a result of delays in conducting the U.S. census amid the pandemic. Clare Spaulding, Chicago Tribune, 7 June 2022 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'census.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of census

1634, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for census

borrowed from Latin cēnsus, from cēnsēre "to give as an opinion, assess, appraise, perform the duties of a censor" + -tus, suffix of verbal action — more at censor entry 1

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Dictionary Entries Near census



census clause

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Last Updated

12 Aug 2022

Cite this Entry

“Census.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/census. Accessed 18 Aug. 2022.

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More Definitions for census


cen·​sus | \ ˈsen-səs How to pronounce census (audio) \

Kids Definition of census

: a count of the number of people in a country, city, or town



Legal Definition of census

: a usually complete count of a population (as of a state) especially : a periodic governmental count of a population that usually includes social and economic information (as occupations, ages, and incomes)

More from Merriam-Webster on census

Nglish: Translation of census for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of census for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about census


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