Design-based estimation methods use the sampling distribution that results when the values for the finite population units are considered to be fixed, and the variation of the estimates arises from the fact that statistics are based on a random sample drawn from the population rather than a census of the entire population.

Survey data are collected to estimate population quantities, such as totals, means, or ratios of certain characteristics. Other uses include comparing sub-populations—for example, estimating the average difference between males and females for certain characteristics. In addition to these descriptive quantities, for many surveys the data are used to fit statistical models, such as linear regression models, to explain relationships among variables of interest for the particular population. In any case, statistics derived from the ...

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