Journal of Official Statistics, Vol.7, No.3, 1991. pp. 339347

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Taxonomy of Elusive Populations

Ten types of problems, comprising over thirty subtypes, suffer in common the failure of compact sampling frames to cover adequately the “elusive populations” they comprehend. Those failures are structural to the entire population, rather than mere imperfections and exceptions, such as are treated commonly as “frame problems.” The widespread failures are inherent in the elusive nature of the populations, which lack the structure of sampling frames for all N elements that are basic to finite population theory. The many specific problems are sorted into ten meaningful types, which are referenced to applications with specific solutions. This classification or taxonomy has heuristic value, I hope, over the ad hoc treatments these problems have often received.

rare events; mobile populations; multiple events; multiple uses; changing units.

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