What is an Average?
How many times do you hear a report in the media and it refers to an average?
How many times have you used the word Average?
How many times do you hear others referring to an average?
Averages are something that we use in mathematics, school, economics, production, sales, marketing and numerous other places…… Whether we talk about Average Wage, Average Income per capita or referring to a norm, we tend to use the term average without much thought….. Are you aware that the there is more than one average?
Though a statistician or a mathematician will tell you that there are many definitions for Average I am going to keep it simple and go through three methods to calculate an average. If you look up average in a dictionary you will see a definition such as
“A number that typifies a set of numbers of which it is a function”
In layman talk we consider an average to be about the middle (ie a set of numbers) or the normal (ie the average Australian….).
However when dealing with numbers I am going to go through three methods of calculating an average:
The Mean is the most common way that average is calculated. The Mean is adding up the numbers and then dividing them by the number of numbers. This number will be the Mean.
The Mode is the number that appears the most in the set of numbers.
The Medium is the middle number. The Medium is calculated by lining up the numbers in ascending order and then picking out the middle number.
- Number series: 0, 1, 1, 2, 4, 5, 5, 5, 6
- The Mean is 3.22 (The numbers added together and then divided by 9)
- The Mode is 5 (number that appears most often)
- The Medium is 4 (the number in the middle)
As you can see from the example each of the methods for calculating the Average gives a different answer. There are advantages and disadvantages to each of the methods and they suit different purposes. This I may cover in a future blog. However I hope this has you thinking that next time you hear the word Average…. Stop and think about how they calculated the average and what this means.
Posted on Monday, 17 Sep 2012, in Uncategorized and tagged Average, Business, Calculation, Commerce, Economics, Integers, Invest, Investing, Investment, Math, Mathematician, Mathematics, Maths, Mean, Medium, Mode, Mode (statistics), National average salary, Number, Number Theory, Numbers, Recreations, Sales, School, Specific Numbers, Statistician, Statistics. Bookmark the permalink. 13 Comments.