Summary Statistics Tell You Little About the Big Picture

Mean, median, and mode. These are the first things you learn about in your introductory statistics course. It’s often all you hear about when you see data in the news. People form policies for populations, based on the generalized numbers.

However, these summary statistics can only tell you so much about a dataset, which means you can only learn a limited amount about what the data represents — the people, places, and things.

If you’re the one who consumes the data, you should wonder what the means and medians actually represent. If you’re the one who analyzes the data, spend time with the most granular that time and resources allow for. Something more interesting will almost always come out of it.

Chart Type Used

Histogram

It looks like a bar chart, but it reads differently. The baseline is continuous instead of discrete categories, which allows one to see distributions.

Favorites

Unemployment in America, Mapped Over Time

Watch the regional changes across the country from 1990 to 2016.

How You Will Die

So far we’ve seen when you will die and how other people tend to die. Now let’s put the two together to see how and when you will die, given your sex, race, and age.

Interactive: When Do Americans Leave For Work?

We don’t all start our work days at the same time, despite what morning rush hour might have you think.

Where Bars Outnumber Grocery Stores

A closer look at the age old question of where there are more bars than grocery stores, and vice versa.