What Type of Statistics Summarize Data?


Angela Bailey

In statistics, there are several types of statistics that are used to summarize data. These statistics provide valuable insights into the characteristics of a dataset and help us understand and interpret the information it contains.

Measures of Central Tendency

One type of statistic that is commonly used to summarize data is the measure of central tendency. This statistic describes the center or average value of a dataset.

  • Mean: The mean, also known as the average, is calculated by summing all the values in a dataset and dividing it by the number of observations. It provides a measure of the typical value in a dataset.
  • Median: The median is the middle value in an ordered dataset.

    It divides the dataset into two halves, with 50% of values above and 50% below it. The median is less affected by extreme values compared to the mean.

  • Mode: The mode represents the most frequently occurring value(s) in a dataset. It can be useful when dealing with categorical or discrete data.

Variability Measures

Variability measures provide information about how spread out or dispersed the data points are within a dataset.

  • Range: The range is calculated by subtracting the minimum value from the maximum value in a dataset. It gives an indication of how widely spread out the dataset is.
  • Variance: Variance measures how far each number in a set is from the mean.

    It quantifies how much variation there is across all observations.

  • Standard Deviation: Standard deviation is another measure of variability that indicates how spread out or dispersed the data points are from the mean. It is the square root of the variance and is often used in conjunction with the mean.

Distribution Characteristics

Statistics that summarize the distribution characteristics of a dataset provide insights into its shape and symmetry.

  • Skewness: Skewness measures the asymmetry of a dataset. A positive skewness indicates a long tail on the right side, while negative skewness indicates a long tail on the left side.
  • Kurtosis: Kurtosis measures the peakedness or flatness of a dataset’s distribution. High kurtosis indicates a more peaked distribution, while low kurtosis indicates a flatter distribution.


In summary, various types of statistics are used to summarize data and provide valuable insights into its characteristics. Measures of central tendency describe the center or average value, variability measures quantify how spread out or dispersed the data points are, and distribution characteristics provide information about shape and symmetry. By understanding these statistics, analysts can gain deeper insights into datasets and make informed decisions based on their findings.

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