# Population vs. Sample: What's the Difference?

Edited by Huma Saeed || By Sumera Saeed || Updated on October 19, 2023
A population includes all members of a defined group, while a sample is a subset of that population chosen for analysis.

## Key Differences

In the realm of statistics and research, a population pertains to the entire group about which information is desired. This could mean the entire human race, all students in a school, or any other complete group. A sample, contrastingly, represents a fraction or subset of that population, selected to participate in a particular study.
Sumera Saeed
Oct 19, 2023
Gathering data from an entire population can be exhaustive, both in terms of resources and time. Hence, researchers often turn to samples to collect data, making it more feasible. The key is ensuring that the sample accurately represents the broader population.
Sumera Saeed
Oct 19, 2023
Data gathered from a population provides definitive and conclusive results about that group. However, when data is sourced from a sample, it offers insights into the probable characteristics or behaviors of the entire population, necessitating the use of inferential statistics.
Sumera Saeed
Oct 19, 2023
Studying an entire population guarantees complete accuracy concerning that group's characteristics. However, with a sample, there's always an element of uncertainty or error, given that it's a subset and might not capture every nuance of the population.
Sumera Saeed
Oct 19, 2023
Surveying an entire population often comes with high costs, extensive time requirements, and sometimes, sheer infeasibility. A sample, being smaller, is usually more manageable, cost-effective, and practical for most research purposes.
Sara Rehman
Oct 19, 2023

## Comparison Chart

### Definition

Entire group under study
Subset of the population
Sumera Saeed
Oct 19, 2023

### Data Accuracy

100% accurate for the group
Subject to sampling error
Sumera Saeed
Oct 19, 2023

### Purpose in Research

Provides conclusive data
Used for inferential statistics and generalization
Sumera Saeed
Oct 19, 2023

### Size

Large (can be infinite)
Smaller than the population
Sumera Saeed
Oct 19, 2023

### Resource Requirement

High (time, money, effort)
More manageable and cost-effective
Janet White
Oct 19, 2023

## Population and Sample Definitions

#### Population

All organisms of a particular species living in a specific area.
The deer population in the forest has been increasing.
Sumera Saeed
Oct 19, 2023

#### Sample

A representative subset of a larger group or population.
The researchers took a sample of 100 students to conduct the survey.
Huma Saeed
Oct 19, 2023

#### Population

A main group from which a statistical sample is drawn.
The study aimed to determine the average height of the adult population.
Sara Rehman
Oct 19, 2023

#### Sample

An instance or single occurrence for inspection or analysis.
He provided a sample of his writing for the application.
Sara Rehman
Oct 19, 2023

#### Population

The total amount in a particular category or set.
The population of data points in this dataset is vast.
Sumera Saeed
Oct 19, 2023

#### Sample

A brief segment of a musical or auditory recording.
The musician used a vintage song sample in his new track.
Aimie Carlson
Oct 19, 2023

#### Population

The total number of inhabitants in a particular area.
The population of the small town is just 3,000.
Harlon Moss
Oct 19, 2023

#### Sample

A small part or quantity intended to show what the whole is like.
She received a sample of the new perfume.
Harlon Moss
Oct 19, 2023

#### Population

The entire group or category being studied or analyzed.
The population of New York City exceeds eight million.
Huma Saeed
Oct 19, 2023

#### Sample

A specimen taken for scientific testing or analysis.
The lab requires a blood sample for testing.
Sumera Saeed
Oct 19, 2023

#### Population

All of the people inhabiting a specified area.
Sumera Saeed
Apr 11, 2019

#### Sample

A portion, piece, or segment that is representative of a whole
Showed samples of a new stretch fabric.
Sumera Saeed
Apr 11, 2019

#### Population

The total number of such people.
Sumera Saeed
Apr 11, 2019

#### Sample

A specimen taken for analysis or testing
A blood sample.
A water sample.
Sumera Saeed
Apr 11, 2019

## FAQs

#### What is a population in statistics?

In statistics, a population refers to the entire set of individuals or items under study.
Sumera Saeed
Oct 19, 2023

#### How is "population" different from "community"?

A population comprises all individuals of a specific species in a particular area, while a community includes all populations of different species living and interacting in a certain area.
Sumera Saeed
Oct 19, 2023

#### What is a sample in statistics?

A sample is a subset of individuals or items selected from a larger population.
Sara Rehman
Oct 19, 2023

#### Is population only used to refer to people?

No, while "population" commonly refers to people, it can also refer to any complete group, such as the population of animals in a region or the population of data points in a dataset.
Huma Saeed
Oct 19, 2023

#### How is a sample size decided?

Sample size is determined based on the desired accuracy, confidence level, variability in the population, and sometimes budget constraints.
Sara Rehman
Oct 19, 2023

#### What is the difference between a parameter and a statistic?

A parameter describes a characteristic of a population, while a statistic describes a characteristic of a sample.
Aimie Carlson
Oct 19, 2023

#### What's the advantage of using a sample over studying the whole population?

Sampling is often more feasible, cost-effective, and faster than studying an entire population.
Harlon Moss
Oct 19, 2023

#### How does "population variance" differ from "sample variance"?

Population variance measures the spread of data in the entire population, while sample variance measures it in a sample. Their formulas differ slightly in the denominator.
Sumera Saeed
Oct 19, 2023

#### What is "sampling bias"?

Sampling bias occurs when a sample is not representative of the population from which it was drawn.
Janet White
Oct 19, 2023

#### What is a "population density"?

Population density is the number of individuals of a population per unit area.
Aimie Carlson
Oct 19, 2023

#### How is "population size" determined?

Population size can be determined through censuses, surveys, or estimation methods based on samples.
Harlon Moss
Oct 19, 2023

#### What is "random sampling"?

Random sampling is a method where every member of the population has an equal chance of being selected in the sample.
Janet White
Oct 19, 2023

#### How are population and sample related?

A sample is derived from a population, and it's used to make inferences or predictions about the entire population.
Harlon Moss
Oct 19, 2023

#### Can a sample be larger than the population?

No, a sample is always a subset of the population and cannot be larger.
Sara Rehman
Oct 19, 2023

#### Is the sample always representative of the population?

Ideally, a sample should be representative, but biases or poor sampling techniques can lead to unrepresentative samples.
Harlon Moss
Oct 19, 2023

#### What is a "stratified sample"?

In stratified sampling, the population is divided into non-overlapping groups (or "strata"), and samples are taken from each group.
Sumera Saeed
Oct 19, 2023

#### Why do researchers use samples?

Researchers use samples to gather information and make inferences about the entire population without examining every individual or item.
Sumera Saeed
Oct 19, 2023

#### What is "sampling error"?

Sampling error is the difference between a statistic from a sample and the true population parameter.
Sumera Saeed
Oct 19, 2023

#### Can a sample have the same size as its population?

Yes, if every member of the population is selected, the sample size would equal the population size. This is known as a census.
Aimie Carlson
Oct 19, 2023

#### How do we ensure a sample is reliable?

Ensuring randomness, minimizing biases, using appropriate sampling techniques, and having a sufficient sample size can help in achieving a reliable sample.
Janet White
Oct 19, 2023