Sample Surveys and Censuses

Ronit Nirel, Hagit Glickman

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review

16 Scopus citations


For many people, the simultaneous use of the terms “census” and “sample survey” seems contradictory. This chapter discusses the use of sample data in census projects in the past and describes innovative developments in census methodology, which accommodates sample data to various degrees. The main features of census and the new trends in census methodology are discussed in the chapter. Censuses provide a core of official statistical data, around which demographic analyses, survey estimates, and administrative data are calibrated. A population census has been defined as “the operation that produces at regular intervals the official counting (or benchmark) of the population in the territory of a country and in its smallest geographical subterritories, together with information on a selected number of demographic and social characteristics of the total population” (United Nations Economic Commission for Europe). The essential features of a census, as specified by the Commission, include universality, simultaneity of information, and individual enumeration. These features imply that there is a well-defined census population reference date for all census data—which is usually referred to as “Census Day”—and accurate data pertaining to individuals with respect to the place of residence and other sociodemographic characteristics on Census Day are collected. Thus, for a person to be enumerated correctly in a census, nontrivial eligibility criteria must be met.

Original languageAmerican English
Title of host publicationHandbook of Statistics
Number of pages27
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2009

Publication series

NameHandbook of Statistics
ISSN (Print)0169-7161


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