# Central tendency

**Central tendency** is a statistical measure that identifies a single value as representative of an entire distribution of data. It aims to provide an accurate description of the entire data set with a single value that reflects the center of the data distribution. The most common measures of central tendency are the mean, median, and mode.

## Measures of Central Tendency[edit | edit source]

### Mean[edit | edit source]

The **mean** is the arithmetic average of a set of values, calculated by summing all the values and then dividing by the number of values. It is sensitive to extreme values (outliers) and may not accurately represent the central tendency if the data distribution is skewed.

### Median[edit | edit source]

The **median** is the middle value in a data set when the values are arranged in ascending or descending order. If the number of observations is odd, the median is the middle number. If the number of observations is even, the median is the average of the two middle numbers. The median is less affected by outliers and skewed data than the mean.

### Mode[edit | edit source]

The **mode** is the value that appears most frequently in a data set. A data set may have one mode (unimodal), more than one mode (bimodal or multimodal), or no mode at all. The mode is particularly useful for categorical data where we wish to know which is the most common category.

## Applications[edit | edit source]

Central tendency measures are widely used in various fields such as psychology, education, economics, and medicine. They are essential in summarizing data, making comparisons between different data sets, and in the interpretation of statistical results.

## Related Concepts[edit | edit source]

## See Also[edit | edit source]

## References[edit | edit source]

## External Links[edit | edit source]

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Contributors: Prab R. Tumpati, MD