18. Capture–Recapture Sampling

  1. Steven K. Thompson

Published Online: 10 FEB 2012

DOI: 10.1002/9781118162934.ch18

Sampling, Third Edition

Sampling, Third Edition

How to Cite

Thompson, S. K. (2012) Capture–Recapture Sampling, in Sampling, Third Edition, John Wiley & Sons, Inc., Hoboken, NJ, USA. doi: 10.1002/9781118162934.ch18

Author Information

  1. Simon Fraser University, Canada

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 10 FEB 2012
  2. Published Print: 23 FEB 2012

Book Series:

  1. Wiley Series in Probability and Statistics

Book Series Editors:

  1. Walter A. Shewhart and
  2. Samuel S. Wilks

ISBN Information

Print ISBN: 9780470402313

Online ISBN: 9781118162934



  • capture–recapture methods;
  • ratio variance estimator;
  • sampling design


In capture–recapture sampling to estimate the total number of individuals in a population, an initial sample is obtained and the individuals in that sample are marked or otherwise identified. Capture–recapture methods have also been used to estimate the abundance of elusive human populations such as the homeless, to adjust for census undercounts of minority groups, and to estimate the number of vital events such as accidents in a population. The capture or detection of one individual is assumed independent of the capture of other individuals, or, in the case of the hypergeometric model, the second sample is a simple random sample without replacement of individuals. Capture–recapture methods for estimating population size also explicitly or implicitly come up with estimates or probabilities of detection or capture. Capture–recapture methods extend to situations with more than two sampling occasions.

Controlled Vocabulary Terms

ratio scale; sampling; Sampling design