Mean vs Median: Difference and Comparison

Mean and Median are two terms that are used in mathematics. Mean and median is part of statistics that are used in many industries to analyze, interpret and present empirical data.

The mean is the average of the given values, while when we find the Median, we get the centre of the set of data.

Key Takeaways

  1. The mean is the average value of a dataset, while the median is the middle value when the data is arranged in ascending or descending order.
  2. The mean can be influenced by extreme values (outliers), whereas the median is less sensitive to outliers.
  3. The mean is appropriate for datasets without significant outliers, while the median is preferred for skewed distributions.

Mean vs Median

The mean is also known as the arithmetic mean, and it is calculated by adding up all the values in a data set and dividing by the number of values. The median is the middle value in a data set when the values are arranged in order from smallest to largest. If there is an even number of values in the data set, the median is calculated as the average of the two middle values.

Mean vs Median
/10

Education Quiz

Test your knowledge about topics related to education

1 / 10

First step in measurement is:

2 / 10

What is the name of the standardized test used for college admissions in the United States?

3 / 10

Who is the author of “Pride and Prejudice”?

4 / 10

What is the study of history called?

5 / 10

Which of the following is NOT a 21st-century skill?

6 / 10

What is the main purpose of a liberal arts education?

7 / 10

Who painted the famous artwork “The Starry Night”?

8 / 10

Who is known as the father of modern physics?

9 / 10

In a class, there are children who usually get out of the social circle. How do you describe these children?

10 / 10

In which year was the first college in the United States founded?

Your score is

0%

Mean is the value that occurs when we sum up all of the values and divide that sum by the number of values in a dataset. It is the average of the values given in a dataset.

It is mostly used in sports, research activities, and to calculate the overall performances of a student or an employee, etc.

The Median is the centre of a group of data. It is used to find accurate results. The median is used in daily life problems like grouping data, buying a property, balancing the home budget, explicating the poverty line, etc.

Comparison Table

Parameters of ComparisonMeanMedian
DefinitionMean is the average of a given set of data.The median is the middle or center of the data.
Formulam = sum of terms/number of termsM = (n+1)/2, term for an odd data set.   M = [n/2 term + (n/2 +1) term ] / 2 , for even data set.
UsesIn sports, to calculate overall performances of a student or an employee, etc.In daily life problems like grouping data, buying a property, etc.
SkewnessThe mean is susceptible to skewed data.The median is not much affected by Skewed Data.
Central TendencyMean is a well-known measure for a central tendency.Mean is affected by outliers due to which median is used and is a much better option for a central tendency.

What is Mean?

Mean is the value that we get when we calculate the average of the data set. It is a measure we use to find the central tendency of the data set.

It is used in many statistical calculations. It is the basis of statistics. The mean is used to find values in R charts, X Bar charts, etc.

The mean of a set of data is found by adding all the values and then dividing them by the number of values there are. The formula for mean is :

Mean, m = sum of terms/number of terms

For example: Here is a set of data 10, 20, 40, 50, 70, 90.

So the mean for the above data will be m= 10 + 20 + 40 + 50 + 70 + 90 / 6 = 280 / 6 = 46.66. We added all the terms and then divided the total by 6 as the values were six in number.

That means, basically, the mean is the average of the data given. There are different types of mean, however, there are only two main types: Arithmetic mean and geometric mean.

The formula we looked at above is the main basic formula of mean which is used. And is called the arithmetic mean.

arithmetic mean

What is Median?

The median is the middle of the data set, i.e. the same amount of values above and below. The data set is first set in ascending order.

The terms have to be set from the lowest to the highest values, and then the middle is found out by the below formula, which will be our median:

Median = (n+1)/2, the term for an odd number of terms in a data set. That means that for an odd data set, the middle term will be the median.

Median = [n/2 term + (n/2 +1) term ] / 2, for an even number of terms in a data set. That implies that the average of the middle two terms will be the median for an even data set.

For example, (i) Odd data set = 2, 5, 6, 7,6, 5, 3

Lowest to highest : 2,3,5,5,6,6,7 ; the median will be (n+1)/2 = 7+1/2 = 4th term. The 4th term is 5, so it is the median.

(ii) Even data set = 2,5,6,7,9,8,6,3

Lowest to highest: 2,3,5,6,6,7,8,9

Median = [(8/2) + (8/2 +1) ] /2 = [4th term + 5th term] / 2 = 6+6 /2 = 6. 6 is the median for this data set.

Indeed, The Median divides the dataset equally. It separates the data set, which gives us the same number of terms above and below the median.

median

Main Difference’s Between Mean and Median

  1. Mean is the average of a data set, while the median is the middle of the data set.
  2. The formula for mean is m = sum of terms/number of terms. The formula for the median is (n+1)/2, a term for an odd data set and [n/2 term + (n/2 +1) term ] / 2, for an even data set.
  3. By the mean formula, we directly found the value which will be our answer, while in the median formula, we found which term will be our median. That value of that particular number of a term will be the median.
  4. The mean is affected by skewed data, while the Median doesn’t get affected much and therefore median provides a typical representative value and is more preferred.
  5. Mean and median are both measures to find the central tendency; however median is preferred more than the mean to find accurate data.
References
  1. https://link.springer.com/article/10.1186/1471-2288-5-13
  2. https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s10649-006-7099-8

Last Updated : 02 August, 2023

dot 1
One request?

I’ve put so much effort writing this blog post to provide value to you. It’ll be very helpful for me, if you consider sharing it on social media or with your friends/family. SHARING IS ♥️

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Want to save this article for later? Click the heart in the bottom right corner to save to your own articles box!