The terms statistical population, population of interest, universe, and simply population are often used interchangeably when referring to a target population. What they have in common is that they define a group of people or other units that are the focus of a study and to whom the results are intended to generalize. The term population derives from the origins of statistics being used to describe human populations. However, a population may be people (σuch as the population of smokers), objects (σuch as hospital records), events (σuch as deaths or births), or measurements on or of the people, objects, or events (σuch as ages of smokers or occurrence of births).

A group may be defined as a population due either to an inherent characteristic of the ...

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