Why would the efficient Roman empire hold a census that required Jesus’s parents to walk seventy miles (one way)? Production would grind to a halt all over the empire.
Wouldn’t it be wiser to instead send the inspectors to Nazareth to count women children and slaves in houses? Tax collectors used to come to your house to appraise your property because you can’t lie about how big your house is when they’re standing there.
For the record, every other time a census is taken in the bible that I’ve seen, i.e. under David, the census takers were sent out to the tribes.
Wiki sames the same happened when a census was taken in the provinces of Rome, (although Rome itself might have been an exception for a while.) Wikipedia’s consensus also says we have no evidence of Caesar Augustus having ordered a census throughout the empire, as the bible claims.
Here’s what the bible says:
In Luke 2:1-7 it says he had to go to Bethlehem because Joseph’s tribe was registered there; i.e. It was the ancestral home. Which suggests others could have just registered in a closer place like Nazareth itself. I think the Romans would prioritize collecting information on where you lived over where you ancient tribe came from. The traditional ancestry of foreign barbarians would have no meaning to the Romans, only to the Jews.
Mark, (the first gospel written) says nothing about his birth, and neither does john (the last written.)
Matthew 2:13-23 says nothing about a census, implying they were already living in Bethlehem. Instead it says the Magi told King Herold about the birth of a new king, and King Herold tried to kill Jesus in Bethlehem by killing all males 2 and under. That’s why the family had to escape to Egypt where they lived until Herold died.
Then they moved to Nazareth, which was ‘to fulfill the prophecy that he would be called a Nazarene.’ (It doesn’t say moved back, so it’s probably the parents’ first time living there.) Only 1 of 4 gospels mentions the census, and these two birth stories don’t corroborate each other on anything except that Jesus was born in Bethlehem and was connected to Nazareth (through living there as a child.)