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# What are statistics?

The word "Statistics" which comes from the Latin words status , meaning a political state, originally meant information useful to the state, for example, information about th…e sizes of population sand armed forces. But this word has now acquired different meanings. Â· In the first place , the word statistics refers to "numerical facts systematically arranged". In this sense, the word statistics is always used in plural. We have, for instance, statistics of prices, statistics of road accidents, statistics of crimes, statistics of births, statistics of educational institutions, etc. In all these examples, the word statistics denotes a set of numerical data in the respective fields. This is the meaning the man in the street gives to the word Statistics and most people usually use the word data instead. Â· In the second place , the word statistics is defined as a discipline that includes procedures and techniques used to collect, process and analyze numerical data to make inferences and to research decisions in the face of uncertainty. It should of course be borne in mind that uncertainty does not imply ignorance but it refers to the incompleteness and the instability of data available. In this sense, the word statistics is used in the singular. As it embodies more of less all stages of the general process of learning, sometimes called scientific method , statistics is characterized as a science. Thus the word statistics used in the plural refers to a set of numerical information and in the singular, denotes the science of basing decision on numerical data. It should be noted that statistics as a subject is mathematical in character. Â· Thirdly , the word statistics are numerical quantities calculated from sample observations; a single quantity that has been so collected is called a statistic . The mean of a sample for instance is a statistic. The word statistics is plural when used in this sense. (MORE)