# Statistical Element and Population

### From MM*Stat International

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## Statistical Elements

Objects whose attributes are observed or measured for statistical purposes are called elements. In order to identify all elements relevant to a particular investigation, one must specify their defining characteristics as well as temporal and spatial dimensions. Example: Population Census in Germany

- defining characteristic: citizen of Germany
- spatial: permanent address in Federal Republic of Germany
- temporal: date of census

## Population

The universe of statistical elements covered by a particular set of specifications is called population. In general, increasing the number of criteria to be matched by the elements will result in a smaller and more homogeneous population.

In a census all elements of the population are investigated. Recording information from a portion of the population yields a sample survey. Populations can be finite or infinite in size.

The stock of elements constituting a population may change over time, as some elements leave and others enter the population. This sensitivity of populations to time flow has to be taken into account when carrying out statistical investigations.

We use the following questionnaire, developed at the Department of Statistics, to clarify the notions of statistical unit and population.
This questionnaire was filled out by all participants in Statistics 1. The investigation was carried out on the first lecture of the summer semester in 1999.
**Population** consists of all students taking part in Statistics 1 at Humboldt University during the summer semester 1999.
**Statistical unit** is one student.