Statistical Variable Meaning | Different Types of Variables in Statistics with Examples PDF

In the previous articles, we have explained what is Statistics and Statistical Data and here we will be discussing the statistical variable and their types. These variables in statistics are classified into different types of variables.

Kids can refer to this article for a better understanding of the statistical variable concept like definition, types of statistical variables, the differences between classified statistical variables with examples, etc. Let’s dive into this guide completely and be familiar with the concept for solving complex questions.

What is a Variable?

In Statistics, you will find two defining for a variable. They are like:

  • A variable is a characteristic that defines a person, place, thing, or idea. Also, it can be called a data item.

Examples of Variables are Age, sex, business income and expenses, country of birth, capital expenditure, class grades, eye color, and vehicle type.

  • The value of the variable can “vary” from one entity to another, and also it may alter in value after a while.

For instance, ‘income’ is a variable that can change between data units in a population and also change after some time for each data unit (i.e. income can go up or down).

Definition of Statistical Variable in Math

A Statistical Variable is a variable that holds discrete values that vary through random situations and when arranged in the order form a statistical distribution or array.

Different Types of Variables in Statistics

In the world of mathematical statistics, the algebraic term which represents the unknown value (ie., not fixed value) that is in numerical format is called a variable. These types of variables are used for many types of research to perform easy computations. Hence, you will see several different variable types that are applied in distinct domains available. A few of the types of statistical variables are as follows:

1. Independent variables
2. Dependent variables
3. Categorical variables
4. Continuous variables

Classification of Statistical Variables

On the basis of the nature of variables, statistical variables are mainly classified into two categories. They are

(i) Numerical (Quantitative )
(ii) Categorical (Qualitative)

The chart of statistical variables classification is given below:

statistical variable types classification

Quantitative Variable in Statistics (aka Numerical Statistical Variables)

A quantitative variable is a variable that includes quantitative data. Numerical variables are measurable or countable variables. Some of the quantitative variables examples are plant height, fruit weight, crop yield, number of petals, seeds, leaves in a plant, etc. Further, it is categorized into (a) Discrete variables and (b) Continuous variables. Look at the below modules and gain more knowledge about types of quantitative statistical variables.

Discrete vs Continuous Variables

The following table will make you understand the difference between two types of quantitative variables in statistics ie., Discrete & Continuous.

Type of variable What does the data represent? Examples
Discrete variables Counts of individual items or values.
  • Number of students in a class
  • Number of different tree species in a forest
Continuous variables Measurements of continuous or non-finite values.
  • Distance
  • Volume
  • Age

Qualitative Statistical Variables (aka Categorical Variables in Statistics)

A variable that includes qualitative data is called Qualitative Variable. Categorical data describe groupings. These variables are un-measurable variables. Examples of categorical statistical variables are the color of flowers, the shape of leaves, the shape of seeds, etc. Moreover, categorical type of variables is classified into three types. They are binary, nominal, and ordinal variables.

Difference Between Nominal and Ordinal Variables

Nominal Ordinal
Variable with two or more categories Variable with two or more categories
The order of the categories doesn’t matter The order of the categories does matter

  • Name
  • Hair color
  • Nationality

  • Satisfaction level
  • Product rating

FAQs on Variables in Statistics

1. Define Statistical Variable? 

The quantity whose different values during observation constitute the collection of data is called a statistical variable.

2. What are independent and dependent variables in statistics? 

Variable that denote the result of the experiment is called dependent variables whereas variable that manipulates to affect the outcome of an experiment is called the independent variable.

3. What is a continuous variable in statistics?

The variables that assess some number or quantity and don’t hold any limits are named as continuous variables and they can be divided into ratio or interval, or discrete variables.

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