Which Type of Data Is Used for Regression?


Heather Bennett

Regression analysis is a statistical technique used to understand the relationship between a dependent variable and one or more independent variables. It is commonly utilized in various fields, such as economics, finance, marketing, and social sciences. Before diving into the details of regression analysis, it’s important to understand the types of data that are used for regression.

Types of Data for Regression Analysis:

Numerical Data:

Numerical data, also known as quantitative data, are measurements or observations that can be expressed numerically. This type of data is often used in regression analysis. For example, if we want to predict housing prices based on factors such as square footage, number of bedrooms, and location, these variables would be considered as numerical data.

  • Continuous Numerical Data:
  • Continuous numerical data can take any value within a certain range. Examples include age, height, weight, and temperature.

  • Discrete Numerical Data:
  • Discrete numerical data consists of distinct values or categories. Examples include the number of bedrooms in a house or the number of products sold.

Categorical Data:

Categorical data, also known as qualitative data, represents characteristics or attributes that fall into specific categories. In regression analysis, categorical variables are typically converted into dummy variables (0s and 1s) before being included in the model.

  • Binary Categorical Data:
  • Binary categorical data has only two possible categories. For example, gender (male/female) or yes/no responses fall under this category.

  • Nominal Categorical Data:
  • Nominal categorical data consists of categories with no inherent order or ranking.

    Examples include colors, types of cars, or zip codes.

  • Ordinal Categorical Data:
  • Ordinal categorical data represents categories that have a specific order or ranking. For instance, the educational level (high school, bachelor’s degree, master’s degree, etc.) can be considered ordinal.

Time Series Data:

Time series data is a sequence of observations collected at regular intervals over time. It is commonly used in regression analysis to forecast future values based on historical patterns. Examples of time series data include stock prices, sales figures over months or years, and temperature recordings.


In regression analysis, different types of data are used depending on the nature of the problem and the variables being analyzed. Numerical data allows for precise measurements and calculations, while categorical data helps understand relationships between different categories.

Time series data provides insights into trends and patterns over time. Understanding the type of data being used is essential for conducting accurate regression analysis and drawing meaningful conclusions.

So next time you encounter a regression problem, remember to identify the type of data you are working with before applying appropriate regression techniques.

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