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 How Far Can We Trust Open Data?

This is a trick question, of course, with no right answer.

When it comes to data, ‘open’ is mainly a licensing approach. Open release can amplify the utility of a dataset, but it tells us nothing about the quality of the data or the processes that went into its production. Those are technical features of the dataset, unaffected by the legal conditions for re-use.

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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 throughout December. To see the complete list of activities for 2014, please click here.

World of Statistics BlogThumbnail image for UN FAO Proposes Features for the 2020 World Census of Agriculture

By Jairo Castano

Every 10 years, the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) revises the countries’ censuses experiences and lessons learned and then prepares, publishes and disseminates the revised census guidelines with improved census methodology. FAO is currently in the process of developing the guidelines for the World Census of Agriculture (WCA) 2020 Programme, which will cover the period spanning 2016 to 2025.

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Significance MagazineThumbnail image for A Survey of Stats Education in UK Journalism

Statistics and journalism go hand-in-hand. Whether reporting on current trends, relaying political statements, or dissecting scientific findings, statistics are often used – either to provide a solid backbone for arguments, or to tear down the flimsy structure of others. The pen is indeed mightier than the sword; even more so when filled with numerical ink. Yet it would seem that the level of statistical training provided to journalists in the UK does not match the prolific use of statistics in the news.

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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 Day In The Life Of A Biostatistician

By Bhramar Mukherjee

It is an exciting time to be a biostatistician; each day at work is absorbing and unique in its own way.

My day typically starts with meeting my graduate students. Most of them are working toward developing new methods with applications at the interface of genetic and environmental epidemiology. The genetic data are complex due to their high dimensionality; the environmental data come with the challenges of handling multiple correlated exposures, measurement error, missing data, and heterogeneity across study cohorts.

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