Census is one of the popular approaches that statisticians use in collecting primary data. In this article, we will look at the census definition along with merits and demerits of census investigation.

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## Census Definition

Under the census or complete enumeration method, the statistician collects the data for each and every unit of the population or universe. This universe is a complete set of items which are of interest in any situation.

To give you an example, if you record the marks of all students of B.Com of the Mumbai University for analysis, it is a census investigation.

The population census is another example of a census investigation. Usually, this method is recommended in cases where the area of investigation is limited and requires intensive examination of the population.

**Browse more Topics under Descriptive Statistics**

- Definition and Characteristics of Statistics
- Stages of Statistical Enquiry
- Importance and Functions of Statistics
- Nature of Statistics – Science or Art?
- Application of Statistics
- Law of Statistics and Distrust of Statistics
- Meaning and Types of Data
- Methods of Collecting Data
- Sample Investigation
- Classification of Data
- Tabulation of Data
- Frequency Distribution of Data
- Diagrammatic Presentation of Data
- Graphic Presentation of Data
- Measures of Central Tendency
- Mean Median Mode
- Measures of Dispersion
- Standard Deviation
- Variance Analysis

### Merits of a Census Investigation

Now that the census definition is clear, let’s look at the merits of a census investigation.

– Under census investigation, you must obtain data from each and every unit of the population. Further, it enables the statistician to study more than one aspect of all items of the population. To give you an example, the Indian Government conducts a census investigation once every 10 years. The authorities collect the data regarding the population size, males, and females, education levels, sources of income, religion, etc.*Intensive Study*– The data that a statistician collects through a census investigation is more reliable, representative, and accurate. This is because, in a census, the statistician observes every item personally.*Reliable Data*– It is a great choice in situations where the different items of the population are not homogeneous.*Suitable Choice*– Data from a census investigation is used as a basis in various surveys.*The basis of various surveys*

### Demerits of a Census Investigation

A census investigation also has certain demerits. Some of these demerits are:

– Since the statistician closely observes each and every item of the population before collecting the data, it makes a census investigation a very costly method of investigation. Usually, government organizations adopt this method to collect detailed data like the population census or agricultural census or the census of industrial protection, etc.*Costs*– A census investigation is time-consuming and also requires manpower to collect original data.*Time-consuming*– There are many possibilities of errors in the census investigation method due to non-response, measurement, lack of preciseness of the definition of statistical units or even the personal bias of the investigators.*Possibilities of Errors*

## Solved Question

**Q1. What are the merits of a census investigation?**

Answer: The merits of a census investigation are:

- Intensive Study of the population
- Reliable Data, since the investigator observes every item personally
- Suitable Choice where the different items of the population are not homogeneous
- The basis of various surveys

Q2. What are the demerits of a census investigation?

Answer: The demerits of a census investigation are:

- It is a costly method since the statistician closely observes each and every item of the population
- It is time-consuming since it requires a lot of manpower to collect the data
- There are many possibilities of errors in a census investigation