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

Bhaduri is a principal member of LandScan Global and LandScan USA, efforts which compile census data and satellite imagery to estimate global population. Emily Strasser, Curbed, "A secret city opens up," 8 Aug. 2018 The most recent census data says that in 2016, 12.7 percent of Americans - about 41 million people - were in poverty compared with 19 percent in 1964. Jeff Stein And Tracy Jan, chicagotribune.com, "White House declares war on poverty 'largely over' amid push to revamp social programs," 14 July 2018 Last year, Riverside County alone added 36,744 people, the third highest of any U.S. county, according to census data. Roland Li, SFChronicle.com, "Bay Area economy growing nearly twice as fast as rest of U.S.," 10 July 2018 Reality is different’ The Russian community is thought to be at least 78,000 strong in Houston, according to census data. Elizabeth Myong, Houston Chronicle, "Russians in Houston have diverse views on international affairs," 8 July 2018 The median cost of renting an apartment in the county, including utilities, spiked from $846 in 2010 to $1,045 in 2016, according to the most recent census data. Lynn Horsley, kansascity, "JoCo agency gave low-income residents a lifeline. Now it's shutting down," 1 July 2018 The county’s population is 920,000, according to census data from 2017, a 14.3 percent increase from its 2010 population. Alexander Soderstrom, ajc, "TTEC announces creation of 500 new jobs for new Gwinnett facility," 28 June 2018 The report used 2016 and some 2017 census data, accompanied by numbers from a few national reports to compare each state. Megan Janetsky, azcentral, "1 in 4 Arizona children live in poverty, national KidsCount report shows," 28 June 2018 To rank states, the study used 16 indicators from the census data and other secondary sources. Frank Witsil, Detroit Free Press, "1 in 5 Michigan kids in poverty, new study shows," 27 June 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

17 Mar 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).


the range of authority or knowledge

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