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In the previous chapter, you have read the tabular and graphic representation of the data. In this chapter, you will study the measures of central tendency which is a numerical method to explain the data in brief. You can see examples of summarising a large set of data in day to day life like average marks obtained by students of a class in a test, average rainfall in an area, average production in a factory, average income of persons living in a locality or working in a firm etc. Baiju is a farmer. He grows food grains in his land in a village called Balapur in Buxar district of Bihar. The village consists of 50 small farmers.

Baiju has 1 acre of land. You are interested in knowing the economic condition of small farmers of Balapur. You want to compare the economic condition of Baiju in Balapur village.

For this, you may have to evaluate the size of his land holding, by comparing with the size of land holdings of other farmers of Balapur. You may like to see if the land owned by Baiju is -
  1. above average in ordinary sense (see the Arithmetic Mean below)
  2. above the size of what half the farmers own (see the Median below)
  3. above what most of the farmers own (see the Mode below)
In order to evaluate Baiju's relative economic condition, you will have to summarise the whole set of data of land holdings of the farmers of Balapur. This can be done by use of central tendency, which summarises the data in a single value in such a way that this single value can represent the entire data. The measuring of central tendency is a way of summarising the data in the form of a typical or representative value. There are several statistical measures of central tendency or “averages”. The three most commonly used averages are:
  • Arithmetic Mean
  • Median
  • Mode
You should note that there are two more types of averages i.e. Geometric Mean and Harmonic Mean, which are suitable in certain situations. However, the present discussion will be limited to the three types of averages mentioned above.

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