Difference Between Census and Survey

Main Difference

The main difference between the Census and the Survey is that the Census collects information about every member of the population whereas Survey collects information from a sample of population.

Census Vs. Survey

Census and survey are two methods of data collection that are used to record information about the members. Census is the type of data collection that gathers information about every member of the population; on the other hand, the survey collects information only from a sample of population. Census contains more information and is more accurate, on the flip side, survey is not as much accurate or reliable as a census. There is noá sampling method used in census while we use a sample in survey to represent the whole population. Census requires more time to complete whereas; survey can be completed in a shorter period of time. It is more expensive to conduct a census while conducting a survey is less expensive. Census is commonly conducted by the government, on the other side, anyone can conduct a survey. As census is a more time taking and expensive process so, it cannot be conducted frequently on the other hand, as a survey is a less time taken and a less expensive process so, it can be conducted more frequently.

Comparison Chart

CensusSurvey
A type of data collection that collects information about every member of the population is known as census.A type of data collection that collects information from a sample of the population is known as survey.
Sample Selection
Census does not use any sample selection to collect information.A sample is selected in a survey to represent whole information.
Accurateness
Census contains more information and is more accurate.The survey is not as much accurate or reliable as a census.
Time required
Census requires more time to complete.A survey can be completed in a shorter period of time.
Expensive
It is a more expensive process to conduct a census.Survey conduction is a less expensive process.
Conducted By
Census is commonly conducted by the government.Anyone can conduct a survey.
Frequency
Census cannot be conducted frequently.A survey can be conducted more frequently.
Importance
It is mostly associated with housing censuses and national population to count all housing units and persons in a specific region.It may focus on different types of information and topics in different fields, such as opinions, preferences, behaviors, or factual information, etc.

What is Census?

A type of data collection method that covers the whole population is known as a census. It collects information from every member of the population. Collection of data is without any sampling method so; we can say that 100 percent sample is used in the census. It’s mean it has more detailed and accurate data about a population which is the best advantages of a census. But it is a time taking and expensive process because it involves the entire population, which is a lengthy procedure and involves a longer publication time-frame. That is why it is not easy to conduct a census frequently. It is mostly associated with housing censuses and national population. According to the United Nations, census should be conducted at least after every ten years because the information becomes out of date. Its aim is to count all housing units and persons in the United States. It is generally carried out by the government of the country.

What is Survey?

A type of data collection that only involves a part or sample of the total population is known as a survey. During a survey, a random sample is selected to represent the entire population. As it only involves a sample from a population, so it is less accurate and reliable as compared to a census. As large as the sample is, the result will be more accurate. Different types of data collection methods are used for sampling, such as polls, interviews, questionnaires, etc. It is less time taking and the less expensive process than census and can also be conducted frequently. That is why it has become a popular data collection method in many research fields. It can be conducted to get information about different research fields, e.g. marketing, psychology, and sociology, etc. It may focus on different types of information and topics such as opinions, preferences, behaviors, or factual information, etc.

Key Differences

  1. A type of data collection that collects information about every member of the population is known as census, whereas a type of data collection that collects information from a sample of population is known as survey.
  2. Census does not use any sample selection to collect information on the other hand; a sample is selected in a survey to represent the whole population.
  3. Census contains more information, so it is more accurate. Conversely, a survey is not as much accurate or reliable as a census.
  4. Census requires more time to complete on the flip side; the survey can be completed in a shorter period of time.
  5. It is more expensive to conduct a census; on the other hand, Survey conduction is a less expensive process.
  6. Census is commonly conducted by the government while anyone can conduct a survey.
  7. Census is a more expensive and time taking process so; it cannot be conducted frequently, on the other hand, the survey is a less expensive and less time taking process so, it can be conducted more frequently.
  8. Census is mostly associated with housing censuses and national population to count all housing units and persons in a specific region while, a survey may focus on different types of information and topics in different fields such as opinions, preferences, behaviors, or factual information, etc.

Conclusion

Above discussion summarizes that census and survey both are data collection methods. A census involves all the data of a population and is more accurate and expensive whereas, the survey involves only a sample from the population, so it is less expensive and less accurate.