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Meaning and Definition of Statistics


Helna is a postgraduate in Commerce who now working as a Manager and also love sharing informative information with her readers.

The word 'Statistics' seems to have been derived from the Latin word 'status' or Italian word 'statista'

The word 'Statistics' seems to have been derived from the Latin word 'status' or Italian word 'statista'

What is Statistics?

Statistics is an old discipline, as old as a human activity. Its utility has been increasing as the ages gone by. In the olden days, it was used in the administrative departments of the states, and the scope was limited. Earlier it was used by governments to keep a record of birth, death, population, etc., for administrative purposes. John Graunt was the first man to make a systematic study of birth and death statistics and the calculation of expectation of life at a different age in the 17th century which led to the idea of Life Insurance.

The word 'Statistics' seems to have been derived from the Latin word 'status' or Italian word 'statista' or the German word 'Statistik' each of which means a political state. Fields like agriculture, economics, sociology, business management, etc., are now using Statistical Methods for various purposes.

In today's information-overloaded age, statistics is one of the most useful subjects anyone can learn. Newspapers are filled with statistical data, and anyone who is ignorant of statistics is at risk of being seriously misled about important real-life decisions such as what to eat, who is leading the polls, how dangerous smoking is, etc.

Meaning and Definition of Statistics

Note the statements below:

"Microsoft reported 80% growth in the revenue during the 3rd quarter",

"Population growth in the country is 2%."

The above statements are statistical conclusions. These statements are very convenient for the reader or listener to understand the net effect. These statements also help to make policies in the respective areas. To prepare these numerical statements, we need to be familiar with those methods and techniques which are used in data collection presentation, organization, and analysis, and interpretations. The study of these techniques and methods is the science of Statistics.

Definition of Statistics.

Statistics has been defined differently by different writers. According to Webster "Statistics are the classified facts representing the conditions of the people in a state. Especially those facts which can be stated in numbers or any tabular or classified arrangement."

According to Bowley statistics are "Numerical statements of facts in any department of inquiry placed in relation to each other."

According to Yule and Kendall, statistics means quantitative data affected to a marked extent by the multiplicity of causes.

A more broad definition of statistics was given by Horace Secrist. According to him, statistics means an aggregate of facts affected to a marked extent by the multiplicity of causes, numerically expressed, enumerated, or estimated according to a reasonable standard of accuracy, collected in a systematic manner for a predetermined purpose and placed in relation to each other.

This definition points out some essential characteristics that numerical facts must possess so that they may be called statistics. These characteristics are:

  1. They are enumerated or estimated according to a reasonable standard of accuracy.
  2. They are affected by a multiplicity of factors.
  3. They must be numerically expressed.
  4. They must be an aggregate of facts.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2010 Helna


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Helna (author) on April 29, 2010:

Thanks Catalyst 20 and Pinkhawk

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pinkhawk from Pearl of the Orient on April 28, 2010:

..thank you very much for the idea, need to refresh my mind!^.^....

catalyst20 from Los Angeles, California on February 19, 2010:

Well said and researched. Thanks.

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