How to Select Representative Samples



We give a formal definition of a representative sample, but roughly speaking, it is a scaled-down version of the population, capturing its characteristics. New methods for selecting representative probability samples in the presence of auxiliary variables are introduced. Representative samples are needed for multipurpose surveys, when several target variables are of interest. Such samples also enable estimation of parameters in subspaces and improved estimation of target variable distributions. We describe how two recently proposed sampling designs can be used to produce representative samples. Both designs use distance between population units when producing a sample. We propose a distance function that can calculate distances between units in general auxiliary spaces. We also propose a variance estimator for the commonly used Horvitz–Thompson estimator. Real data as well as illustrative examples show that representative samples are obtained and that the variance of the Horvitz–Thompson estimator is reduced compared with simple random sampling.