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We need a better explanation of the three most common types of averages:

  1. The mean is what you get when you add them all up and divide by how many there are.
  2. The median is the number in the middle: half the values are higher, and half the values are lower.
  3. The mode (a term rarely heard) is the typical value. F

Often the mode is lower than the median, which is also typically lower than the mean.

Consider a factory where one person makes $200,000 a year, another two make $50,000 a year, and 17 others make $16,000 to $20,000 a year, then:

  1. Mean = $30,300 (but 85% of the workers make less than the mean!)
  2. Median = $18,375
  3. Mode = $16,000 to $20,000

If you're not specific about which type of average you mean, you can cause confusion. This can be accidental, but it's often deliberate. Darrel Huff's popular 1950 book, "How to Lie with Statistics", has never gone out of print. As the old saying goes, "Figures don't lie, but liars figure". (See statistics. --Ed Poor Talk 09:48, 10 July 2007 (EDT)

Recent Edit

I wouldn't put the sentence about the Mean in here Luke, it will only confuse people thinking it may have something to do with the median. We already have mean under "See Also" with a link. I hope this helps. Learn together 14:47, 2 October 2007 (EDT)