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 Did Big Data Kill the Statistician?

Hold this thought: ‘There are big lies, damn big lies and big data science’. Statistics is a science, some argue that it is the oldest of sciences. It can be traced back in history to the days of Augustus Caesar, and before. In 1998, Lynn Billard wrote a paper that laid out the role of the statistician and statistics. She said, ‘no science began until man mastered the concepts and arts of counting, measuring, and weighting’.

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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 Statistics Bootcamp: Estimating Pi with R and Buffon’s Needle

Creative applications of statistics abound in virtually every discipline. But coming up with tangible examples to explain core concepts to those new to the field can be quite a challenge. That’s how it was for me as a graduate student in the Department of Biostatistics at the University of Kansas Medical Center.

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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 Roundabout Path To Becoming A Statistician

By Dr. Jacquelyn Pennings

My childhood dream was to be a child psychologist. My pursuit of this dream continued into graduate school. It was after I had started a master’s counseling program that I realized it was not my passion. I was more intrigued by the research process itself than the final result. I was fascinated by the “how,” not the “why.”

At this point, I decided to transfer to the Experimental Psychology program at Texas Christian University to pursue a doctorate in child development. I always had an underlying interest in statistics, however, my interest flourished when I got in touch with an old friend from graduate school. This colleague had started a research consulting company and it made me realize that my career in statistics could come to fruition.

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