How to Find the Mean

How do you find the mean of a set of numbers? It is one of the more labor intensive values you can find about a data set. Order is not important, but there are two key things to be looking for. Let’s take a look at how to find the mean.

How to Find the Mean

Mean is another word for average. To find this you have to find the sum of all the numbers in the set. After that, you count how many numbers are in the set. We take the total sum and divide that total by how many numbers there are in the set. This gives us the mean of the group.

Don’t worry if this comes out to a decimal. If you are doing this on a homework assignment, either round to the first decimal place or double check the directions to see if there is a rule you should follow. Decimal answers are quite common, so don’t immediately assume you are wrong if you get a decimal.

Mean Example Problem

Let’s find the mean of this set of data:

10, 16, 19, 21, 13, 16, 25, 29, 10, 12, 18, 16, 20, 27, 11, 15

The first thing we need to do is add them all. To see this done step by step, check out the video above. The total sum when everything is added together is 278. Then we count and see that there are 16 individual numbers in the group. Our mean calculation is 278 divided by 16, which gives us a (rounded) answer of 17.4.

Another Mean Example Problem

How to Find the MeanLet’s find the mean of the following set:

57, 43, 65, 55, 39, 50, 65, 64, 52, 61, 49

Once again, our first step is to add the numbers together. This is also shown in the video above. The numbers added gives us total sum of 600. We then count to see how many numbers there are, which is 11. Our final mean calculation is 600 divided by 11, which gives us a mean of 54.5.

The way we find the mean is the same, no matter how big the list is. It would be the same if the numbers had decimals as well. The mean is the average of all the numbers and is one of the most useful values when trying to understand a large set of numbers.

To learn how to find other values of a set of numbers, check out the other articles in this series:

How to Find the Median

How to Find the Mode

How to Find the Range

How to Find the Midrange


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