Difference Between Population and Sample


Main Difference

The main difference between population and sample is that a population includes all of the elements from a set of data and a sample consists of one or more observations drawn from the population.

Population vs. Sample

Population implies a large group consisting of elements having at least one common feature. The term sample, which is nothing but a part of the population that is so selected to represent the entire group. The population is the high group of people to whom your results will apply whereas sample is the group of individuals who participate in your study. Population illustrates the entirety of persons, units, objects and anything skilled of being conceived, having certain properties. On the contrary, the sample is a limited subset of the population, that is chosen by a systematic process, to find out the characteristics of the parent set. You can think the population as the ocean sample as an aquarium.


Comparison Chart

Population relates to the collection of all elements possessing common characteristics, that comprises everything.A sample is a subgroup of the members of the population chosen for participation in the study.
Population is Parameter in characteristic.The sample is a Statistic in characteristic.
Every unit of the group.Only a handful of units of population.
Focus on
Identifying the characteristics.Making inferences about the population.
Data collection
Complete enumeration or censusSample survey or sampling
Population parameters are numerical measures that describe an aspect of a population.Sample statistics are numerical measures that describe an aspect of a sample.

What is Population?

Population means the total of all elements under study having one or more common characteristic; for example, all people living in Pakistan represent the population. The population not limited to people only, but it may also contain animals, events, objects, buildings, etc. It can be of any extent, and the number of components or members in a population is known as population size. The different types of the population considered as under:

  1. Finite Population: When the number of components of the population fixed and thus making it feasible to count it in totality, the population is said to be finite or confined.
  2. Infinite Population: When the number of groups in a population is uncountable, and so it is complex to observe all the items of the universe, then the population is examined as infinite.
  3. Existent Population: The population which contains objects that exist in reality is called the existent or actual population.
  4. Hypothetical Population: Hypothetical or conceptually population is the population which subsides hypothetically or supposedly.

What is a Sample?

The word sample, we mean a part or section of the population chosen at irregular for participation in the study. The sample so preferred should be such that it represents the population in all its characteristics, and it should be free from bias, to produce a small representative sample, as the sample observations are used to make generalizations about the population. In other words, the respondents preferred out of population constitutes a ‘sample,’ and the process of selecting retaliated is known as ‘sampling.’ The units under examine are called sampling units, and the number of units in a sample is called sample size. While conducting statistical testing, samples mainly used when the sample size is too large to include all the members of the population under study. Sampling is well known for a range of reasons:

  • It is less costly than an enumeration (sampling the whole population)
  • you don’t have adepts to future data, so must sample the past
  • you have to destroy some items by testing them and don’t want to destroy them all

Key Differences

  1. The population is the entire set of worth’s or individuals; you are interested. The sample is a sub-unit of the population and is the set of values you use in your estimation.
  2. The feature of population based on all units called parameter while the measure of sample observation is called statistic.
  3. With population, the focusing is to identify the characteristics of the elements whereas in the case of the sample; the focus made on generalizing the characteristics of the population, from which the sample came.
  4. The population consists of every component of the whole group. On the other hand, only a few items of the population included in a sample.
  5. When information collected from all articles of the population, the method is known as a list or complete count. Conversely, the sample examined is conducted to collect information from the sample using the sampling method.


Regardless of the above differences, it is also actual that sample and population are related to each other, i.e., the sample was distilled from the population, so except population sample may not subsist. Furthermore, the principal purpose of the sample is to make statics conclusion about the population, and that too would be as exact as possible. The larger the size of the sample, the greater is the quality of conviction of abstraction.