I use Scrivener to write my stories and Microsoft Word for papers. When it comes to assignments for class, we’d always be given a page count or page range to reach (ie. 5 pages or 3-5 pages ). Page number is affected by a bunch of different things–font type, font size, margins, kerning, indents, spacing, etc. We all know what it’s like to sit there and mess around with formatting to see if we can get a 4-page paper to reach 5, because we’ve run out of things to say. If you do it right, you can definitely make the 4 turn into a 5. I found if you’re using Google Docs, what appears as a 5-page paper (standard formatting of 1″ margins all around, Time New Roman, 12-pt font) on the program, it turns up short when you paste it to Microsoft Word (even if you clear the formatting and redo it on MSWord). Formatting can be fun sometimes, but for the most part, it’s a huge pain in the ass.
Conclusion: Page count is unreliable.
Word count, on the other hand, is handier.