Find the center

It is often desirable to find the center of a group of objects or observations. There are several ways to find a 'statistical' center, each with strengths and weaknesses.

Comparing Mean, Median, and Mode
Comparing Mean, Median, and Mode. Notice how the shape of the 'distribution' affects each measurement. By Cmglee, CC BY-SA 3.0, Link

Mean[edit | edit source]

The Mean, commonly called 'average', looks at for the center as a measurement of how spread out the group members are and where most members reside. It is subject to bias from the most far reaching members of the group, known as outliers. Despite the strong influence of outliers, the Mean is a very common way to find the center of a group, or distribution.

Median[edit | edit source]

Median is a way to find the center by dividing the set of observations exactly in half. It doesn't matter how many of each value there are, just that there are an equal number of observations on each side.

Mode[edit | edit source]

Mode considers the center as the value that is seen most frequently. In other words, the Mode is the value observed with the highest count.

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