Census and consensus are easily confused words.
The spell-check application of most word processing software programs would not catch a slip-up of these two words. Spell-check is looking for words that aren’t in its dictionary, and words that resemble words in its dictionary, but are possibly spelled wrong. Spell-check isn’t perfect. It doesn’t know and can’t guess what word you wanted, or what word you meant, it can only judge the words on the page. If you used words that are all spelled correctly, it gives you a pass anyway.
Autocorrect suggests words that start with the same letters. It’s suggesting what word you may want to save time, but quite often, its suggestions are pretty off base. They don’t help you out, but they do make you laugh.
Census (pronounced “sihn-suhss”) is a noun. It means a population count conducted by state or national government at periodic intervals. The US has conducted them since 1957. Censuses provide data that indicates needs for new or updated services and infrastructure.
Consensus (pronounced “kahn-sihn-suss”) is an adjective. It describes multiple persons or parties coming to an agreement or prevailing opinion on an issue.
The following story uses both words correctly:
President Concessa proposed a census needed to be taken next year in her island nation of Sedeza. The last one, scheduled for 2015, had been postponed due to a tumultuous hurricane season. It was hard to get the legislature to reach a consensus on this issue. A stalwart wing of conservatives claimed it would cost too much money to hire people to collect the data and others to interpret it.