Meanings of Statistics

The word statistics has three different meanings, which are discussed below:
(1) Plural Sense (2) Singular Sense (3) Plural of the Word “Statistic”

(1) Plural Sense

In the plural sense, the word statistics refers to numerical facts and figures collected in a systematic manner with a definite purpose in any field of study. In this sense, statistics are also aggregates of facts which are expressed in numerical form. For example, statistics on industrial production, statistics or population growth of a country in different years, etc.

(2) Singular Sense

In a singular sense, it refers to the science comprising of methods which are used in the collection, analysis, interpretation and presentation of numerical data. These methods are used to draw conclusion about population parameters.

For example: We want to study the distribution of the weights of students in a certain college. First of all, we will collect information on the weights which may be obtained from college records, or we may collect this information from the students directly. The large quantity of weight figures will confuse the mind. In this situation, we may arrange the weights in groups such as “50 Kg to 60 Kg”, “60 Kg to 70 Kg” and so on, and find the number of students that fall in each group. This step is called the presentation of data. We may still go further and compute the averages and some other measures which may give us a complete description of the original data.

(3) Plural of the Word “Statistic”:

The word statistics is used as the plural of the word “statistic,” which refers to a numerical quantity like the mean, median, variance, etc., calculated from sample values.

For example: If we select 15 students from a class of 80 students, measure their heights and find the average height, this average would be a statistic.