This section contains general information about how the economic census is collected and processed.
A sample survey is a data collection activity involving observations or questionnaires for a sample of a population.
A census is a special kind of sample survey where all units of a population are selected into the sample. For the economic census, the sample includes all employer establishments in the United States.
Surveys are normally less expensive to conduct than censuses. They may be taken more frequently and can provide information updates between censuses. Often, surveys are used to collect a smaller variety of information than what is collected in a census.
Note: 2007 Economic Census data for the construction sector comes from a sample survey and is technically not a "census."