### Brenden's MMM

Thursday, October 30, 2008
MEAN

The mean may often be confused with the median or mode. The mean is the arithmetic average of a set of values, or distribution; however, for skewed distributions, the mean is not necessarily the same as the middle value (median), or the most likely (mode). For example, mean income is skewed upwards by a small number of people with very large incomes, so that the majority have an income lower than the mean. By contrast, the median income is the level at which half the population is below and half is above. The mode income is the most likely income, and favors the larger number of people with lower incomes. The median or mode are often more intuitive measures of such data.

MEDIAN

In probability theory and statistics, a median is described as the number separating the higher half of a sample, a population, or a probability distribution, from the lower half. The median of a finite list of numbers can be found by arranging all the observations from lowest value to highest value and picking the middle one. If there is an even number of observations, the median is not unique, so one often takes the mean of the two middle values. At most half the population have values less than the median and at most half have values greater than the median. If both groups contain less than half the population, then some of the population is exactly equal to the median. For example, if a < b < c, then the median of the list {a, b, c} is b.

MODE

In a set of data, the mode is the most frequently observed data value. There may be no mode if no value appears more than any other. There may also be two modes (bimodal), three modes (trimodal), or four or more modes (multi modal). In the case of grouped frequency distributions, the modal class is the class with the largest frequency.As a set of data can have more than one mode, the mode does not necessarily indicate the centre of a data set. The mode will be close to the mean and median if the data have a normal or near-normal distribution. In fact, if the distribution is symmetrical and uni modal, then the mean, the median and the mode may have the same value.