Target population

The target population is that group of people that is of interest to researchers in a statistical study, or that is (or will be) affected by a certain project.

Target population

The target population, in other words, is made up of the set of individuals on whom an evaluation or statistical analysis is carried out.

To determine the target population, questions such as Who is being affected or causing the phenomenon of interest can be asked? What are the characteristics of these people and where are they geographically located?

As it is usually impossible (economically and materially speaking) to collect information from the entire target population, we resort to analyzing a representative sample.

That is, instead of applying surveys or analysis to all the people who are part of the target audience, a subgroup (the sample) is selected on which the study will be developed.

The idea is that the sample best reflects the characteristics of the population. That is, they should share data similar to those shown by the population in indicators such as average age, income level, percentage of men and women, among others.

To expand the concept, here are some buttons that show several of the main sampling techniques that we can choose:

Target population examples

So, let’s look at some examples of the target population.

Suppose we are conducting a study on the level of satisfaction with private higher education services in a given country. In this case, the target population will be young people who are studying at a private university or higher institute in this country.

Another example could be that of a company that is carrying out a market study to launch a new product. For example, a dried fruit snack aimed at middle-class youth in the city of Lima, Peru. In this case, said population will be those people between the ages of 18 and 30 who belong to economic segment B and C and who live in Lima.

Difference between target population and accessible population

It is also important to differentiate the target population, which is the entire group of interest of the researchers, from the accessible population, which is the set of individuals on which it is feasible to carry out the research.

That is, it is on the accessible population on which the sample is selected. For example, if I am going to carry out a study on a certain disease, I can collect information on those individuals who are being treated for that disease, both in the public health system registry and in private clinics.