Glossary of Statistical Terms: Definition Statistical unit

Individual elements (people or objects) in a statistical data collection are called statistical units. They can be distinguished clearly, optimally in terms of facts as well as space and time.

Alternatively to the term statistical unit, we can also speak of carriers of an attribute in an investigation. There are various possible examples of statistical units – this could be a a group of people, countries, religions, car types, even cans of soup. Their properties that are being examined are called attributes, their answers are variables (=values).

For example, a statistical unit in a survey are young people between 14-18 years of age (factual) with primary residence in Boston (spatial), who were questioned between January 24-25 2014 (temporal).   

Please note that the definitions in our statistics encyclopedia are simplified explanations of terms. Our goal is to make the definitions accessible for a broad audience; thus it is possible that some definitions do not adhere entirely to scientific standards.

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