Meaning and definition of Statistics
Statistics is an old discipline, as old as the human activity. Its
utility has been increasing as the ages goes by. In the olden days it
was used in the administrative departments of the states and the scope
was limited. Earlier it was used by governments to keep record of
birth, death, population etc., for administrative purpose. John Graunt
was the first man to make a systematic study of birth and death
statistics and the calculation of expectation of life at different age
in the 17th century which led to the idea of Life Insurance.
The word 'Statistics' seems to have been derived from the Latin word 'status' or Italian word 'statista' or the German word 'Statistik' each of which means a political state. Fields like agriculture, economics, sociology, business management etc., are now using Statistical Methods for different purposes.
Meaning and Definition of Statistics
Please note the statements below:
"Microsoft reported 80% growth in the revenue during the 3rd quarter",
"Population growth in the country is 2%"
Above statements are statistical conclusions. These statements are very convenient for the reader or listener to understand the net effect. These statements also help to make policies in the respective areas. To prepare these numerical statements, we need to be familiar with those methods and techniques which are used in data collection presentation, organization and analysis and interpretations. The study of these techniques and method is the science of Statistics.
Definition of Statistics.
Statistics has been defined differently by different writers. According to Webster "Statistics are the classified facts representing the conditions of the people in a state. Specially those facts which can be stated in numbers or any tabular or classified arrangement."
According to Bowley statistics are "Numerical statements of facts in any department of enquiry placed in relation to each other."
According to Yule and Kendall, statistics means quantitative data affected to a marked extent by multiplicity of causes.
More broad definition of statistics was given by Horace Secrist. According to him, statistics means aggregate of facts affected to marked extent by multiplicity of causes, numerically expressed, enumerated or estimated according to a reasonable standard of accuracy, collected in a systematic manner for a predetermined purpose and placed in relation to each other.
This definition points out some essential characteristics that numerical facts must possess so that they may be called statistics. These characteristics are:
- They are enumerated or estimated according to a reasonable standard of accuracy
- They are affected by multiplicity of factors
- They must be numerically expressed
- They must be aggregate of facts