A statistical unit is a unit of observation or measurement for which data are collected or derived. The statistical unit is therefore the basic element for compiling and tabulating statistical data. It is important to specify the statistical unit when publishing results : for example, the percentage of individuals belonging to 4-person households does not have the same meaning as the percentage of 4-person households.
An important feature of the statistical unit is the fact that it concerns the "results" side of the statistical process ; it is the elementary building block for the calculation of statistical aggregates. The statistical unit may be distinct from the collection unit: for example, it is possible to collect information about the "salaried employees" statistical unit by selecting a sample of establishments and obtaining the required information about all or part of the salaried employees working in these establishments.