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The actual population value that would be obtained with perfect measuring instruments and without committing any error of any type, both in collecting the primary data and in carrying out mathematical operations.

An idealized concept of a quantity which is to be measured; in some cases it can be achieved, but in others there is disagreement as to the definition of the quantity. Illustrations are the number of persons who are "unemployed," and the dollar value of farm sales.

In most surveys an approximation to the "true" value is used, defined in such a way that one would expect to be able to measure it provided there were sufficient time, money, knowledge of techniques, etc., and no errors in the reporting, collection, and processing of the data. (Statistical Policy Working Paper 4 - Glossary of Nonsampling Error Terms: An Illustration of a Semantic Problem in Statistics, United States Federal Committee on Statistical Methodology, 1978).

Source Publication:
Eurostat, “Assessment of Quality in Statistics: Glossary”, Working Group, Luxembourg, October 2003.

Cross References:
Statistical population


Statistical Theme: Methodological information (metadata)

Glossary Output Segments:

Created on Friday, July 26, 2002

Last updated on Tuesday, January 3, 2006