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 fall under the center of the data. Average is quite similar to mean but also has its key differences from 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 a simple data to find the average.

Given set of values: 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 also describes the average of a sample.  In Statistics, the definition of the mean is similar to the average. But, it can also be defined as the sum of the smallest value and the largest value in the given data set divided by 2.

Mean = (Sum of the smallest value and the largest value)/ 2

Let us consider the same example given above:

The smallest value is 1, and the largest value is 5

Therefore, mean = (1+5)/2 = 6/ 2 = 3

You can observe that, the result of both the average and mean for the given data set is similar.

What is the Difference Between Average and Mean?

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

Difference between Average and Mean



Average can simply be defined as the sum of all the numbers divided by the total number of values. Mean on the other hand is the result of the addition of the largest and smallest numbers in the set and dividing them by 2
Average is usually present 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 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?
Solution: Given, 1,1,2,3,4
Mean = Sum of observation/Total number of observation
= (1+1+2+3+4)/5
= 2.2
2. What is the median and mode of 1,1,2,3,4?
Solution: Given, 1,1,2,3,4 is the set of observation.
Median = Middle value = 2
Mode = Maximum repeated value = 1

It is important to know the differences between these two, as it can help resolve any kind of misconceptions between one and the other. If you liked this article and would like 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, mean is the average of the given sample or data set. It is equal to total of observation divided by number of observations.

What is the definition of a median in statistics?

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, 67 is 45.

Why 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 used in general when we have to find the mean of numbers.

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

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


  1. this seems like an excellent program

  2. Good way to define

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