So you're happily playing Tiny Empires, and someone mentions the term 'Census'... but you don't know what they mean. Or perhaps you're playing and suddenly a message pops up in the Offers tab, saying that a census was taken and that you got gold from it. Nice! Now, what happened?
First off, Censuses occur in January of even-numbered years... so you get gold once every two years of play (assuming you aren't coming on and leaving at just the right or wrong times). But before you can participate in a Census, you need one thing:
That's right, subjects. You get so many gold for each DIRECT subject you have. So, if you have zero subjects... no census for you. On the other hand, if you have ten direct subjects (you can't have more), then you get a nice lot of gold! The amount of gold you get per direct subject is based on how much you pay per acre. I get 1/60th of an acre price. (So with ten direct subjects, that would mean I get 1/6th of what an acre costs me in each Census.)
Now the fun part begins... the Federation Hud.
Do you have the Federation Hud? If not, then you won't see this next part.
As a Federation HUD user (who has subjects!) you not only get the normal census gold, you get one piece of gold per 9 citizens in your Federation HUD population. (Remember, these are NOT real people- real subjects- just the Population number on your hud.) As you handle disasters (or not), your citizen population goes up or down acccordingly. Handle them well (costs lots of gold) and you get more citizens. Handle them poorly (or not at all) and you lose citizens. But getting citizens means you also get more census gold.
So if you get one gold for every nine citizens, just keep handling disasters well. You can pile in as many citizens as you want and keep going, the sky is the limit, right? Well, not quite. You can never have a citizen population amount that is higher than 5,000 percent of your "capacity". Capacity is determined by all of the subjects below you- what rank they are, and how much land each have. More land and more high ranking subjects means more capacity for you... giving you the ability to get more citizens in the census! And since you can have 5,000 percent (or fifty times) your "capacity" amount in citizens, small changes in capacity mean a lot more or less citizens, and more or less census gold.
As an example, I can count on gaining 6,000 citizens in capacity when a Duke or Duchess under me becomes a Prince or Princess (yes, it goes the other way, too!) That 6,000 increase in capacity, multiplied by 50, means I can squeeze in 300,000 more citizens into my population number before overcrowded conditions wipe me back down to my 5,000 percent maximum. Now, in the census, I get one gold for every nine citizens, so 300,000 divided by 9 means 33,333 gold in census money every two years.... just because I have the Fed Hud and someone under me became a Princess!
Note that the exact formulas for how capacity is determined are probably unknown to anyone but the emperor... I suppose if someone systematically worked at it, they could determine it, but if they have, I don't know of it. (Anyone???) It really doesn't matter, since the basic point remains the same: get as many high ranking subjects in your downline as possible, with acreage, and you get more gold in the census because you can get more citizens in your population.
....and that's about it for the census... from your first direct subject to a line filled with Princes and Princesses and a Fed Hud... it's all yours for the working!