Difference Between Census Survey and Sample Survey

Census Survey vs Sample Survey

Surveys are done all over the world to collect information from the populace to arrive at conclusions that help in improving the products or services of a company. There are many techniques of survey out of which sample survey and census survey are very popular. Though there are many similarities between these two methods, there are many differences in features and also the results obtained. It depends upon time available and other circumstances to engage in either of the two types of surveys. This article will discuss the features of two types of surveys to clear the doubts in the minds of the readers.

Before we begin to differentiate, it is pertinent to note that sample is a portion of the population whereas census takes into consideration everyone in the population. This obviously means that a census survey is a much bigger exercise in nature and procedures than a sample survey. Census survey also is a very time consuming exercise as information needs to be collected from each and every individual from the population. On the other hand, sample survey is easier as a representative sample is taken from the population and the results obtained are extrapolated to fit the entire population.

There are times and requirements where governments have to indulge in census survey even if it is time consuming and very expensive as it needs to formulate policies and welfare programs for the population. For example, when a government has to count heads of the population, it cannot conduct a sample survey to count the number of people in the country. But when government is planning on a welfare program for cancer patients, it can conduct a sample survey of some of the cancer patients and then extrapolate the results on the section of the population that is undergoing treatment for cancer.

There are errors in sampling in case of sample survey which can be minimized but never eliminated. Therefore the results of a sample survey always have a margin for error whereas census survey is always accurate. However, many times, it is not possible to carry out census survey which is when sample survey is undertaken.

Census Survey vs Sample Survey

• Sample survey and census survey are method to gather information from people

• Census survey takes each and every individual whereas sample survey takes a representative sample

• Census survey is much bigger in proportion than sample survey

• Census survey takes more time and money

• However, there is margin for error in sample survey while census survey is more accurate.