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# WHAT IS STATISTICS?

By Aman Kayal, Academic Content Writer for Economics

At this stage you are probably ready to know more about Statistics. You might very well want to know what the subject ‘Statistics’ is all about. Statistics deals with the collection, analysis, interpretation and presentation of numerical data. It is a branch of mathematics and also used in the disciplines such as accounting, economics, management, physics, finance, psychology and sociology. Here we are concerned with data from the field of Economics. Most Economics data are quantitative. For example, a statement in Economics like “the production of rice in India has increased from 39.58 million tonnes in 1974–75 to 106.5 million tonnes in 2013–14, is a quantitative data. In addition to quantitative data, Economics also uses qualitative data. The chief characteristic of such information is that they describe attributes of a single person or a group of persons that is important to record as accurately as possible even though they cannot be measured in quantitative terms. Take, for example, ‘gender’ that distinguishes a person as man/woman or boy/girl. It is often possible (and useful) to state the information about an attribute of a person in terms of degrees worse; sick/ healthy/ more healthy; unskilled/ skilled/ highly skilled, etc.). Such qualitative information or statistics is often used in Economics and other social sciences and collected and stored systematically like quantitative information (on prices, incomes, taxes paid, etc.), whether for a single person or a group of persons. You will study in the subsequent chapters that statistics involves collection of data. The next step is to present the data in tabular, diagrammatic and graphic forms. The data, then, are summarised by calculating various numerical indices, such as mean, variance, standard deviation, etc., that represent the broad characteristics of the collected set of information. Finally, the data are analysed and interpreted.