Numerical and Categorical Types of Data in StatisticsNow, let’s focus on classifying the data. We can do this in two main ways – based on its type and on its measurement levels. Let’s start with the types of data we can have: numerical and categorical.
The Categorical VariableCategorical data describes categories or groups. One example would be car brands like Mercedes, BMW and Audi – they show different categories.
Numerical VariablesNumerical data, on the other hand, as its name suggests, represents numbers. It is further divided into two subsets: discrete and continuous.
Discrete DataDiscrete data can usually be counted in a finite matter.
ExamplesTake the number of children that you want to have. Even if you don’t know exactly how many, you are absolutely sure that the value will be an integer. So a number like 0, 1, 2, or even 10.
Continuous DataIt’s easier to understand discrete data by saying it’s the opposite of continuous data. Continuous data is infinite, impossible to count, and impossible to imagine.
A Case in PointFor instance, your weight can take on every value in some range. Let’s dig a bit deeper into this. Say you get on the scale and the screen shows 150 pounds or 68.0389 kilograms.
Why Your Weight is a Continuous VariableNow think about sweating. Every drop of sweat reduces your weight by the weight of that drop, but once again, a scale is unlikely to capture that change. The process of losing and gaining weight occurs all the time. Your exact weight is a continuous variable – it can take on an infinite amount of values no matter how many digits there are after the dot.
More Examples of Discrete DataJust to make sure – here are some other examples of discrete and continuous data:
- Grades at university are discrete – A, B, C, D, E, F, or 0 to 100 percent.
- The number of objects in general. No matter if bottles, glasses, tables, or cars. They can only take integer values
- Money can be considered both, but physical money like banknotes and coins are definitely discrete. You can’t pay $1.243. You can only pay $1.24. That’s because the difference between two sums of money can be 1 cent at most.
More Examples of Continuous DataWhat else is continuous? Apart from weight, other measurements that are also continuous are: