Welcome to WikiTree, Matthew. Accuracy of census records is all over the map. Was it done by mail (only after a certain date), was it done in person, who was at home at the time the census taker was there, were the residents literate, did they actually know all of the information asked, etc.?
Your best bet on unraveling questions such as you have is to look to primary source records such as birth, marriage and death records. Then check secondary sources you might be able to find such as church membership records (which might also contain birth, marriage and death records), newspaper obituaries (notorious for having wrong info).