Merits And demerit of mean

Updated: 9/24/2023
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  • The mean uses information from all observations.
  • The mean of a large (even infinite) population can be reliably estimated by the mean of random samples (it is an unbiased estimator).
  • Statistical properties of the mean are well studied so that there are many tests and techniques that can be applied.


  • A mean does not exist for categorical (qualitative) data. If 20 children in a class of 30 like English and 10 like French, then there is no mean language (such as Frenglish) that is the class, as a whole likes.
  • A mean may not be a value that is (or even can be) ever realised. In the UK families have a mean of 1.7 dependent children. There is not a single family, though, that has 1.7 children!
  • Outliers can distort the value of the mean.
  • The mean is probably the hardest measure of central tendency to calculate.
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Q: Merits And demerit of mean
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