census

An official enumeration of the people of a country to obtain statistics concerning their ages, occupations, education, and the like. In ancient Rome the census was taken with a view to taxation. In canon law, census means a tax or tribute imposed on a benefice, usually by a bishop and payable to himself. In diocesan and parochial usage it is the enumeration of the faithful, and certain data about their spiritual needs and conditions. A census or enrollment of the people is mentioned several times in the Old Testament and notably in the New Testament (Luke 2), the enrollment of "the whole world" which occasioned the journey of Joseph and Mary to Bethlehem wherc Christ was born.

New Catholic Dictionary

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