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Demographics and Statistics: Home

What are Statistics?

[Photo credit: Lendingmemo]

The branch of political science concerned with the collection classification, and discussion of (esp. numerical) facts bearing on the condition of a state or community.

["statistics, n." OED Online. Oxford University Press]

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What is the difference between Data and Statistics?

Image credit [http://data.library.virginia.edu/statlab/]

Data is the raw information from which statistics are created. Statistics provide an interpretation and summary of data and are the results of data analysis.  

Statistics

  • Statistical tables, charts, and graphs
  • Reported numbers and percentages in an article

If you are looking for a quick number to verify a claim, you want a statistic.  A statistic will answer "how much" or "how many" and will repeat a pre-defined observation about reality.  Statistics are the result of data analysis and usually appear in the form of a table or chart. 

Data

  • Datasets
  • Machine-readable data files, data files for statistical software programs

Data can be interpreted using statistical procedures to answer “why” or “how” and is used to create new information and knowledge.

Adapted from: http://libguides.lib.msu.edu/datastats

Tips for using American FactFinder

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Government Information, Law and Political Science Librarian

Jane Cramer
Contact:
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718-951-5332
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