Distinguishing Between a Census & a Survey

Census and survey are two methods of collecting information about various subjects. While they may seem similar, they have distinct differences in their approach, time consumption, cost, and accuracy.

Key Takeaways

  • Census involves questioning the entire population, while a survey involves selecting a representative sample from the population.
  • Surveys are quicker and provide results faster than censuses, which are time-consuming and take longer to generate results.
  • Surveys are relatively inexpensive, while censuses require a significant amount of money and personnel.

A census is a large-scale survey conducted by governments to gather information about the population. It involves reaching out to every household and asking questions listed on a questionnaire. This process is time-consuming and expensive, as it requires a large number of personnel. The information collected helps the government formulate policies to benefit various sections of society. Census is such a massive undertaking that it cannot be carried out on short notice or for specific requirements.

On the other hand, a survey involves selecting a random sample of the population to collect data quickly and inexpensively. Surveys can range from small groups, such as students in a school or employees in a company, to larger groups like cancer patients across the country. The data obtained from a survey can be at a local, regional, or national level, depending on the survey’s purpose. Since the entire population is not involved in a survey, the accuracy of the results is lower than that of a census. However, surveys are quick, inexpensive, and can be carried out whenever needed.

Gil Tillard
Gil Tillard
Gil Tillard is an accomplished writer with expertise in creating engaging articles and content across various platforms. His dedication to research and crafting high-quality content has led to over 5 years of professional writing and editing experience. In his personal life, Gil enjoys connecting with people from diverse backgrounds and cultures. His curiosity and eagerness to learn from others fuel his passion for communication. He believes that engaging with strangers can be both enlightening and enjoyable, making it easier to strike up conversations and expand one's horizons.


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