Difference Between Census and Sampling (With Table)

Census vs Sampling

Census and Sampling are the two terms that are considered to be the opposite of each other by most of the people, which is not the case.

Census and Sampling are the processes that are used to collect survey data of the people.

One of the key differences between Census and Sampling is that census includes all the members of the population to extract data, whereas, in sampling, a large chunk of the population is considered as a single group to collect data.

In the census, the enumeration of every single element is done separately. However, in sampling, an enumeration of a cohort of the population is done to retrieve survey data.

As in census, every element has to be inspected separately; therefore, it is quite an expensive process, whereas sampling is considered to be an economical process.

However, the census provides much more accurate results as in comparison to sampling.

There is almost no chance of error in the census as it includes every member of the population rather than a subgroup of elements.

The enumeration in the census is considered to be complete because of its nature of including every element of the population.

However, the enumeration process in sampling is said to be partial, on the other hand.


 

Comparison Table Between Census and Sampling (in Tabular Form)

ParameterCensusSampling
DefinitionCensus is considered to be a systematic method in which the data is collected from every single member of the population.Sampling is a process in which a huge chunk of the population is selected to represent the characteristics of that entire group.
MentioningThe enumeration is complete in the case of the census as every element is studied individually.In sampling, the enumeration is considered to be partial as a subgroup is taken into account here instead of each and every element.
DurationAs in census, every member of the population is taken into account; it is quite a time-consuming process.However, sampling is a fast process.
Error RateThe error rate here is zero.The chance of error depends on the size of the cohort taken into account.
OutcomeThe outcome in the census is pretty reliable and accurate.In the case of sampling, the results are less reliable.

 

What is Census?

A census is a process by which the information is retrieved and collected from every unit of the population. It is a time-consuming process, as every element has to be taken into consideration individually.

This is also what makes it more accurate and reliable. This process is also expensive in comparison to sampling. It requires an extensive amount of labor to collect data from every member of the population.

Census is also called complete enumeration as the enumeration of every single element is done here. Some of the examples of this process are birth rate, death rate, rate of literacy, etc.

As census collects data through intensive research, it lets you see the problems underneath.

For example, when the population census is done, then along with the number of members, their profession, gender, education, occupation, etc. are also taken into account.

In the case of a highly large-sized population, the cost of conducting census goes quite high. More time and labor is also required to process this much data.

Census gathers information from every unit of the population
Census gathers information from every unit of the population
 

What is Sampling?

In sampling, a portion of the population is selected to represent characteristics of the entire cohort in order to retrieve data.

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The process of sampling is considered when it is impossible to study every single element separately.

As every individual is not taken into account here, the enumeration is considered to be partial.

This process is faster than the census, as only a group has to be studied here rather than every single individual.

In the case of sampling, the outcome is not precise. However, the whole process is much more economical.

Unlike the census, there is a huge risk of errors in this process as only an individual subgroup is studied to collect survey data.

This process is considered a convenient method to retrieve data from the population.

This method can only be used if the population is homogenous in nature.

If the sample size is taken quite larger, then this decreases the chances of errors in the process.

Sampling gathers information from a subset of the population 1
Sampling gathers information from a subset of the population

Main Differences Between Census and Sampling

  1. In the case of the census, the data is retrieved from each and every member of the population. However, in sampling, only a subgroup is analyzed in order to obtain data.
  2. In the census, the enumeration is a complete process as every single element is studied individually, here.
    However, in sampling, the enumeration is only a partial process, as the data is not collected from each and every person of the population.
  3. Census requires much more time to complete as every individual has to be analyzed separately. On the other hand, sampling is quite a fast process.
  4. As much more data has to be studied in case of the census; therefore, there is no chance of errors here.
    In sampling, the risk of errors is quite high, as only a subgroup has been taken into account.
  5. The results of the census are pretty accurate than that of sampling.

 

Infographic

Census vs Sampling

 

Conclusion

Census and Sampling are two different processes used to retrieve data. No one method is better than the other.

In the census, every member of the population is analyzed to collect survey data. Studying every element individually eliminates the risk of errors.

However, in sampling, the risk of errors is quite high as only a sample is analyzed for obtaining data.

Both of the processes have their own uses, and they are considered depending on what the situation demands. The method of census requires more money and labor than the sampling method.

The results in the case of the census are much more precise than that of sampling as more data has been taken into account here.

However, taking a large-sized sample in sampling will also result in reducing the error rate.

As census deals with every single element of the population, it takes more time than sampling.

However, it is known to provide pretty accurate results.


 

Word Cloud for Difference Between Census and Sampling

The following is a collection of the most used terms in this article on Census and Sampling. This should help in recalling related terms as used in this article at a later stage for you.

Difference between Census and Sampling
Word Cloud for Census and Sampling

 

References

  1. https://methods.sagepub.com/base/download/BookChapter/sampling-essentials/n2.xml
  2. https://www.jstor.org/stable/3800595