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 In Praise of ‘Light Quants’ and ‘Analytical Translators’

When we think about the types of people who make analytics and big data work, we typically think of highly quantitative or computational folks with hard knowledge and skills. You know the usual suspects: data scientists who can make Hadoop jump through hoops, statisticians who dream in SAS or R, data wizards who can extract two years of data from a medical device that normally dumps it after 20 minutes (a true request). Companies lust after these skills, and they are admittedly important and not easy to find.

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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 during June. To see the complete list of activities for 2015, please click here.

World of Statistics BlogThumbnail image for Experts Debate Challenges of Statistical Capacity Building in Agriculture

By Stephen Katz, Senior Coordinator Statistics Division, FAO

High quality statistics are essential for designing and targeting policies to reduce hunger, malnutrition, and rural poverty, and to promote the sustainable use of natural resources. They provide the foundation for evidence-based decision-making for governments and the international community, and play a critical role in measuring and monitoring progress toward national and international development goals and targets.

FAO Facilitates Capacity Development Building on the official data provided by countries, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) plays a crucial role providing agricultural statistics as global public goods, employed worldwide for decision-making and policy development. The most evident example of this is FAOSTAT, the world’s largest and most comprehensive statistical database on food and agriculture with about 2.4 million user visits per year.

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Significance MagazineThumbnail image for Pollgate: Hindsight is Wonderful but it Doesn’t Answer What Went Wrong

After the pre-election polls spectacularly failed to predict a Conservative majority, many are seriously asking why we should pay them any attention now. Their failure has shaken the public’s trust in numbers appearing in the media. Now Lord Foulkes, who was already displeased with the polls Scottish referendum, has resurrected his plan for a state-backed polling regulator.

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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 World of Statistics.

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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 Singing the Praises of PCBS’s Mahmoud Jaradat

By Ola Awad

As Mahmoud Jaradat prepares to retire next year from the post of assistant of president for Statistical Affairs at the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics (PCBS), a number of us--including me--have mixed emotions about his pending departure. Mr. Jaradat has contributed greatly to put in place the very foundations that have made PCBS such a success.

His name is printed in almost every statistical publication that PCBS has produced. Mr. Jaradat has played a vital role in accomplishing the first-ever Population, Housing and Establishment Censuses in 1997 and 2007, in addition to the first-ever agriculture census in 2010.

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