Australian Bureau of Statistics

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1332.0.55.002 - Statistical Language!, 2008  
Latest ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 27/06/2008  First Issue
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Contents >> Mean >> Here's another way of looking at it!


The mean represents the gravitational midpoint of a list of numbers. It can be visualised as a seesaw. A single child can sit farther from the centre of a seesaw in order to balance several children sitting closer to the centre. Similarly, a single value sitting far off the gravitational centre can have a profound effect on the mean.

The mean is the point or value at which the group of observations would balance:

Diagram: mean

If an observed value in a dataset shifts to the right, the mean will adjust to the new point of balance by also shifting to the right.

Diagram: Mean with outlier

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