Difference Between Average and Mean

To understand the difference between average and mean, one must be aware of what separates one from the other. Average and mean are used interchangeably. In Statistics, instead of the term “average”, the term “mean” is used. Average can simply be defined as a quantity or a rate which usually falls under the centre of the data. The average is quite similar to the mean but also has key differences from the mean as well. If one can understand the arithmetic mean and range, it can be incredibly helpful in understanding and solving math topics.

Definition of Average and Mean

Average: The term “Average” describes a value that should represent the sample. An average is defined as the sum of all the values divided by the total number of values in a given set. It is also known as the arithmetic mean. Let us consider simple data to find the average.

Given, the set of values are 1, 2, 3, 4, 5.

Average = Sum of all the values/ Total number of values

Average = (1 + 2 + 3 + 4 +5)/5 = 15/5 = 3

Also, Read: Average value and Calculation.

Mean: A mean is a mathematical term that describes the average of a sample.  In Statistics, the definition of the mean is similar to the average.

What is the Difference Between Average and Mean?

Average and mean are usually confused with one another as both mathematical terms are used to explain the set of numbers. Mean can simply be calculated by adding the set of values and dividing by the number of quantities. Thus, this is the core definition of mean. You can find the tabular column below to learn the average and mean differences.

Difference between Average and Mean



Average can be defined as the sum of all the numbers divided by the total number of values.  A mean is defined as the mathematical average of the set of two or more data values.
Average is usually defined as mean or arithmetic mean. Mean is simply a method of describing the average of the sample.
Average can be calculated for any discrete numbers where it assumes uniform distribution. It is mainly used in Statistics, and it is applied for any distribution such as geometric, binomial, Poisson distribution, and so on.
The arithmetic mean is considered as a form of average. There are various types of the mean, such as arithmetic mean, geometric mean, and harmonic mean.
Average is usually used in conversations in general day-to-day English. Mean is used in a more technical and mathematical sense.
The average is capable of giving us the median and the mode. Mean, on the other hand, cannot give us the median or mode.

Solved Examples

1. What is the mean of 1, 1, 2, 3, 4?


Given, 1, 1, 2, 3, 4
Mean = Sum of observation/Total number of observations
= (1 + 1 + 2 + 3 + 4)/5
= 2.2

2. What is the median and mode of 1, 1, 2, 3, 4?


Given, 1, 1, 2, 3, 4 is the set of observations.
Median = Middle-most value = 2
Mode = Most repeated value = 1

It is important to know the differences between these two, as it can help resolve any misconceptions between one and the other. If you liked this article and want to read more, download the BYJU’S -The Learning App today!

Frequently Asked Questions – FAQs


What is the difference between mean and average?

The average is the sum of all values divided by the number of values. It is also sometimes referred to as mean. In statistics, the mean is the average of the given sample or data set. It is equal to the total of observations divided by the number of observations.

What is the definition of a median in statistics?

The Median is the middle value of any given observation when they are arranged in ascending or descending order. For example, the median of 23, 34, 45, 56, and 67 is 45.

Why do we use mean instead of average?

The mean score usually gives the measurement of central tendency when we are provided with grouped data. The average is generally used when we have to find the mean of numbers.

What is the average of 23, 45, 67, 89, and 121?

The average of 23, 45, 67, 89, and 121 is:
(23 + 45 + 67 + 89 + 121)/5
= 345/5
= 69


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