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The word statistics is derived from the Latin word status.It is believed that, it also has its origin from the Italian word statista, the German word statistik,the French word statisque, etc.


All these words mean ‘a political state.’ Thus, statistics is associated with the administrative affairs of a state.

Definition of Statistics

We may define statistics either in a singular sense or in plural sense.


Statistics when used as a singular sense may be defined, as the science of collection, presentation, analysis and interpretation of numerical data.


Statistics when used as a plural sense, means data relating to any phenomenon that is numerically expressed, enumerated or estimated according to a reasonable standard of accuracy collected in a systematic manner for a pre-determined purpose and placed in relation to each other.

Characteristics of Statistics

  • Statistics means an aggregate of facts
  • Statistics are numerically expressed
  • Statistics are enumerated or estimated according to reasonable standard of accuracy
  • Statistics are collected in a systematic manner
  • Statistics are collected for a pre-determined purpose
  • Statistics are placed in relation to each other

Application of Statistics

We find the applications of statistics in almost all fields known to man. Few of them are:

  • State affairs: Statistics provides the necessary information to the state that leads to frame suitable policies and guidelines to maintain law and order in that region.
  • Economics: Statistics has a very wide application in economics. It helps us to decide the quantity of goods to be manufactured, the most efficient ways to manufacture the goods, etc.
  • Business management: In business management, statistics provides statistical information and statistical techniques that enable the management to plan, organise and control the business smoothly.
  • In medicine: Statistics related to the blood pressure, body temperature, pulse rate, etc. of a patient helps the physician to diagnose the diseases.

Functions of Statistics

Important functions of statistics are as follows:

  • It simplifies complexity of the data
  • It adds precision to thinking
  • It helps in the comparison of different sets of figures
  • It guides in the formulation of policies and helps in planning
  • It indicates trends and tendencies
  • It helps in studying relationship between different factors

Limitations of Statistics

Statistics has a few limitations as follows:

  • Statistics does not deal with qualitative data. Rather it deals with only quantitative data
  • Statistics does not deal with individual facts
  • Statistical conclusions are not exact
  • Statistics can be misused

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