The World of Statistics

What is Statistics?

When many people hear the word "statistics," they think of either sports-related numbers or the college class they took and barely passed. While statistics can be thought about in these terms, there is more to the relationship between you and statistics than you probably imagine.

So, what is statistics? Several informal definitions are offered in the book A Career in Statistics: Beyond the Numbers by Gerald Hahn and Necip Doganaksoy:

  • The science of learning from (or making sense out of) data
  • The theory and methods of extracting information from observational data for solving real-world problems
  • The science of uncertainty
  • The quintessential interdisciplinary science
  • The art of telling a story with [numerical] data

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Stats LifeThumbnail image for Delivering on the Data Revolution in Sub-Saharan Africa

Since the term ‘data revolution’ was brandished in the high-level Panel report on the Post-2015 Development Agenda, there has been a flurry of activity to define, develop and drive an agenda to transform the way development statistics are collected, used, and shared the world over.

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StatsLife is the news, opinion and resource website of the Royal Statistical Society.

World Population Clock

Below are The World of Statistics participating organization events and activities around the world that will be conducted through August. To see the complete list of activities for 2014, please click here.

World of Statistics BlogThumbnail image for Future of Statistical Science Healthy with a Mix of Challenges, Opportunities

By Ronald L. Wasserstein

Statistical science is as healthy as it ever has been, with robust growth in student enrollment, abundant new sources of data, challenging problems to solve and related opportunities to grasp over the next century, summarizes a just-released report on the future of the field.

Statistics and Science: A Report of the London Workshop on the Future of the Statistical Sciences ( is the product of a high-level meeting in London last November attended by 100 prominent statisticians from around the world.

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Significance MagazineThumbnail image for What Skeletons are in Your Closet? – The Statistical Accounts of Scotland

We collect and analyse data so routinely in 2014 that we now take it for granted. Statistics track almost every commercial and public service along with the quantification and gamification of our daily lives. This in turn fuels the myriad of polling data and statistics at the heart of the Scottish independence referendum debate raging at the moment.

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Significance is a publication of the Royal Statistical Society and the American Statistical Association.

Census at School

Challenge Yourself Today!

We are proud to introduce Stats2013AtSchool—a Royal Statistical Society Centre for Statistical Education and American Statistical Association special project expressly designed for schools and students worldwide in support of the International Year of Statistics.

Stats2013AtSchool features an international statistics quiz for school-aged learners. This fun, online quiz is based on WinAtSchool, a competition which comprises multiple choice questions in

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Census at School is a free, web-based classroom project that engages primary and secondary school students in statistical problemsolving using their own data. This international educational initiative, launched in 2000 in the United Kingdom by the Royal Statistical Society Centre for Statistical Education, has programs operating in several countries.

Click here to view the Census at School program in your country or others around the world.

Statistician Job of the WeekThumbnail image for A Hybrid Statistician: CDC’s Emily Olsen

One type of job available to applied statistics graduates is that of “hybrid statistician,” in which statistical expertise is tied into a more general research-based role. At the Division of Adolescent and School Health of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in Atlanta, Georgia, USA, Emily Olsen serves as the statistical voice for her projects and also initiates and/or leads public health research projects.

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