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Surveys and Samples

Gathering data from a sample versus from a population. Insight into deciding which one fits the situation.

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Surveys and Samples
Teacher Contributed

Surveys and Samples

Topic

The United States Census Survey

Vocabulary

• Survey
• Sample
• Sample Size
• Biased Samples

Student Exploration

The U.S. Census is the largest survey conducted in the U.S.

While the United States Census is by far the largest survey conducted in the U.S., it does not survey every single U.S. citizen. There are an estimated 313,889,843 people living in the U.S.! It would be very costly and take a long time to survey everybody. The U.S. Census is conducted every ten years, 2010 being the most recent, and it focuses on population and housing information about the U.S. The Census’ results have lots of uses but its main uses are to change the number Congressional seats assigned to states and it changes the services and funds provided to communities. The purpose of the U.S. Census is to, “provide the best mix of timeliness, relevancy, quality, and cost for the data we collect and services we provide,” as stated at http://www.census.gov/aboutus/ .

1. Describe the survey methods that the U.S. Census uses. What type of sampling does it conduct? What is the sample size of the U.S. Census? Why? Describe the types of questions they use.
2. What efforts are made by the U.S. government to try and make it representative of the entire U.S. population? And what efforts are made by the U.S. government to try and make it unbiased? Explain.
3. What groups of people are overlooked because of the U.S. Census’ survey and sampling methods? What are some other downfalls of the U.S. Census’ survey and sampling methods? Explain.

Research these questions at the U.S. Census’ homepage, http://www.census.gov/ and http://www.census.gov/aboutus/surveys.html .

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