Australian Bureau of Statistics

Rate this page
ABS Home
Statistical Language - What is a Population?

Image: What is a Population?What is a Population?

Content on this page requires Adobe Flash Player to be viewed.

Download Adobe Flash player

Alternatively, read the transcripts, attached below, containing a text version of the information displayed in the Flash Animation.

This animation explains the concept of population. If you are unable to access the video a Transcript (.doc 26kb) has been provided. The animation requires Adobe Flash Player to run. The animation contains no audio.

What is a population?

A population is any complete group with at least one characteristic in common. Populations are not just people. Populations may consist of, but are not limited to, people, animals, businesses, buildings, motor vehicles, farms, objects or events.

Why do you need to know who or what are in a population?

When looking at data, it is important to clearly identify the population being studied or referred to, so that you can understand who or what are included in the data. For example, if you were looking at some Australian farming data, you would need to understand whether the population the data refers to is all farms in Australia, just farms that grow crops, those that only have livestock, or some other type of farm.

When is a population identified?

The population needs to be clearly identified at the beginning of a study. The study should be based on a clear understanding of who or what is of interest, as well as the type of information required from that population.

Collecting data about a population:

Collecting Data about a Population Flowchart: What is a Population?

Recommended: Read Census and Sample next

Further information:

Literacy Stats - Understanding different population counts
3107.0.55.006 - Information Paper: Population Concepts

External links:
Setting up a Survey

Commonwealth of Australia 2008

Unless otherwise noted, content on this website is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 2.5 Australia Licence together with any terms, conditions and exclusions as set out in the website Copyright notice. For permission to do anything beyond the scope of this licence and copyright terms contact us.