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

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 Indianapolis is now the 16th-most populous city in the U.S. Fort Worth's population grew to 874,168 in the new census estimate. Andrew Clark, Indianapolis Star, "Census: Indianapolis is no longer the 15th-most populous U.S. city. This city passed us.," 29 May 2018 The community grew by 12% to 3,398 residents in 2017, according to the census estimates. Kristi Tanner, Detroit Free Press, "Detroit still losing people but — oh, man — not like Fife Lake Twp.," 24 May 2018 More than 800 of those people were from Schuylkill County, according to census estimates. NBC News, "Two counties tell the tale of a growing education gap," 20 May 2018 About 32% identify as Hispanic or Latino, according to 2016 census estimates. Nina Agrawal, latimes.com, "Santa Clarita may join other cities in opposing California's 'sanctuary' law," 9 May 2018 Flathead County first hit 100,000 residents last year, after growing by about 10 percent since 2010, according to United States census estimates. Jen Fifield, The Christian Science Monitor, "Promise of outdoor activities pulls new residents to rural areas," 19 Apr. 2018 The five ZIP Codes included in the Upper West Side PHX group boast median household incomes from $62,921 in 85382 to $104,814 in 85383, according to 2016 census estimates. Angel Mendoza, azcentral, "Glut of chain stores in Phoenix suburb sparks idea: Create an 'Upper West Side'," 16 Mar. 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

9 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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