I'm going through my class textbook and the definition for a census is

When desired information is available for all objects in the population, we have what is called a census.

I remember from biostatistics that a parameter is essentially a characteristic of an entire population while a statistic is a characteristic about a sample. Are the terms parameter and census synonymous then? If not, what is the difference?

  • 3
    $\begingroup$ en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Statistical_parameter (see the first sentence). So, for example, a population mean, population standard deviation, population 90th percentile, population regression slope, etc. A census is a complete collection of some quantity (or quantities) of interest for all of the members of the population. If you have a census you could (at least in principle) compute a population parameter. $\endgroup$
    – Glen_b
    Jan 22, 2022 at 0:01

1 Answer 1


We generally call it as parameter when we don't have its true value and we would like to make a inference over it, we call census when we just evaluate some quantity over all population.

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ This is incorrect: the definition of parameter quoted in the question is the correct one and is fully general. It does not depend on your state of mind or knowledge of it. The problem with this question is that a parameter and a census are such completely different things that they cannot even be compared and contrasted. $\endgroup$
    – whuber
    Jan 21, 2022 at 22:36
  • $\begingroup$ what would be your answer $\endgroup$ Jan 21, 2022 at 23:31
  • $\begingroup$ Look at any definition of these terms in an authoritative textbook. $\endgroup$
    – whuber
    Jan 22, 2022 at 3:41

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge that you have read and understand our privacy policy and code of conduct.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.