The Plural of Census: Here’s What It Is and How to Use It

Here is a brief explanation of how to use census and the plural form of the word in the English language. Let us go over what a census is, the plural form, the history and origin of the word, synonyms, and examples of the word used in a sentence. Next time you go to use the word census you will be an expert. 

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What Is the Definition of Census?

The word census means:

  • a count of the population and a property evaluation in ancient Rome
  • a usually complete enumeration of a population
  • specifically: a periodic governmental enumeration of population involving the registration of citizens
    • According to the latest national census data, 16% of the population is of Hispanic or Latino origin.
  • a total number obtained or recorded by noting each thing as it was being added

What Is the Plural Form of Census?

Because the word census came originally from the Latin language before being used today in American English, there are two correct plural forms. The first plural form census is the same as the singular form in spelling and comes from the Latin census, whereas the English plural form is censuses. 

The History and Origin of the Word

The earliest example of the word census being used is back in 1634. It was used in the context defined in the first definition listed above “a count of the population and a property evaluation in early Rome”. It was used back in this time period to discuss the taxation and registration back in Roman antiquity.

The first time that there was a census in the United States was in 1790 and a year later there was a census in France after the French revolution. Census was also used to describe “one’s wealth, one’s worth, wealthiness”.

The word census comes from Latin, it was spelled the same but with an accent over it “cēnsus”. This word was derived from cēnsēre which meant “”to give as an opinion, assess, appraise, perform the duties of a censor” + -tus, suffix of verbal action”. 

Synonyms of Census From a Thesaurus

  • Count – a total number obtained or recorded by noting each thing as it was being added
    • my official count for the number of bird species and subspecies that visited the sanctuary that weekend was 43
  • Tale – a rumor or report of a personal or sensational nature
  • don’t believe the tales you hear about our neighbor’s kid
  • Tally – a total number obtained or recorded by noting each thing as it was being added
    • the final tally for worshippers at Sunday services was 126
  • Score – a lingering ill will towards a person for a real or imagined wrong
    • a whistle-blower who was more interested in settling a score with his employers than in exposing an injustice
  • Amount – a given or particular mass or aggregate of matter
    • is this small amount of food supposed to feed the whole hockey team?
  • Gross – as in amount, total
  • Sum – a complete amount of something
    • the sum of human knowledge on that subject
  • Total – a complete amount of something
    • that’s the total for our wheat harvest this year
  • Whole – a complete amount of something
    • the landlord eventually refunded the whole of our deposit
  • Recount – as in count, tally

Example Sentences of the Word in Context


Now you are an expert on all things related the word of the day: census. Next time you need to write a census you will be well prepared for everything you need to know what it is and how to do it efficiently.