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 Data Journalism Needs to Up Its Standards

Did you know that wearing a helmet when riding a bike may be bad for you? Or that it’s possible to infer the rise of kidnappings in Nigeria from news reports? Or that we can predict the year when a majority of Americans will reject the death penalty (hint: 2044)? Or that it’s possible to see that healthcare prices in the US are 'insane' in 15 simple charts? Or that the 2015 El Niño event may increase the percentage of Americans who accept climate change as a reality?

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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 July. 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 How the Job Market is Changing Across 12 U.S. Cities

Usually when the latest US labor data is released, it gets hastily boiled down to one figure for handy consumption in the news cycle. However, there is a lot more going on in this data that can be revealed by statistical analysis.

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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 My Work in Statistics: Developing New Tools for Analyzing Data

Carly Barry interviewed Scott Pammer, a technical product manager at Minitab Inc. in State College, Pa. Scott works to develop new product concepts and the accompanying prototypes and business plans. Before taking on the role of technical product manager, Scott worked for Minitab as a senior statistician. In this role, he designed and programmed various features in Minitab Statistical Software. He’s been with Minitab since 1995.

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