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

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Other Words from census

census transitive verb

Synonyms for census


count, tale, tally

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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

The dispute comes ahead of the 2020 census, in which the Trump administration hopes to ask about the citizenship of members in every household. Jennifer Haberkorn, latimes.com, "House panel votes to hold Barr and Ross in contempt over 2020 census citizenship question," 12 June 2019 The most recent population count was 12,269 residents, according to the 2010 census. Michael Cabanatuan, SFChronicle.com, "Petition calls for removal of giant swastika from El Sobrante home," 12 June 2019 Criminologist Richard Rosenfeld cautioned that the latest data is based on population data from the 2010 census but says changes in racial demographics alone don’t explain the disparity increase. USA TODAY, "Black Union regiment flag, Notorious BIG, Pikachu the mini pony: News from around our 50 states," 12 June 2019 City Librarian Irene McDermott notes that the 2010 census showed 53% of residents identify as Asian in San Marino. Maria L. La Ganga, www.latimes.com, "What's L.A. reading? Our habits are as diverse as the city itself," 6 June 2019 In 2011, following the 2010 census, Texas lawmakers redrew the state’s legislative and congressional districts. Matt Ford, The New Republic, "How Texas Republicans Got Away With a Racially Discriminatory Electoral Map," 25 June 2018 It was created in the aftermath of the 2010 census, and Republican Crescent Hardy won the first race under the new district lines by three percentage points. Jim Geraghty, National Review, "The House GOP’s Outlook Is Better Than You Think," 25 Jan. 2018 According to census estimates, the Arab American population is measured at just over 2 million people. Joseph Gedeon, The Seattle Times, "As census approaches, many Arab Americans feel left out," 14 Apr. 2019 The state’s black, Asian-American and Hispanic populations have grown at a faster rate than whites since 2010, according to census estimates. Cameron Mcwhirter, WSJ, "Georgia’s Motor-Voter Drive Boosts Eligible Balloters Who Lean Democratic," 8 Oct. 2018

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.

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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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Statistics for census

Last Updated

23 Jun 2019

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Time Traveler for census

The first known use of census was in 1634

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English Language Learners Definition of census

: the official process of counting the number of people in a country, city, or town and collecting information about them


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)

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Comments on census

What made you want to look up census? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


to take the place or position of

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