Though widely used, statistics suffers from certain limitations. Some of these limitations of statistics are given below.
Limitations of Statistics
Describes only quantitative aspects: Statistics studies only variables that can be expressed as numerical values. It fails to take into account qualitative variables such as beauty and loyalty.
Studies only aggregate: Statistics deals only with aggregates of quantitative variables. Individual values have no significance in statistics.
Results hold true only as averages: Statistical laws hold true only on an average basis or approximation. They are not exact. For example, if per capita income in India is Rs 33000, then it does not necessarily mean that each and every person in the country earns Rs 33000.
Can only be used by experts: Only a person having a comprehensive and sophisticated knowledge of statistics can handle statistical data efficiently. Such data cannot be properly interpreted by a layman.
Data can be misused and manipulated: Statistical data can be manipulated and misused as per the user’s discretion. Such manipulated data results in misleading conclusions.
Inapplicable to heterogeneous data: Statistical tools do not facilitate comparison in the case of heterogeneous data. Data has to be homogeneous in order to be compared. Despite the wide applicability of statistics, it should be noted that it is not a substitute for common sense. Numerical data should not be used without applying common sense. Statistical data should not be believed blindly as it can be misinterpreted or misused.
For instance, statistical data may be politically influenced or may involve personal bias. Moreover, statistical data and methods fail to reveal the errors committed by the investigator while surveying and collecting the data.
4 Aspects of Statistics
Statistics is closely related to the four basic aspects of economics namely, consumption, production, distribution, and exchange.
Statistics refers to the aggregates or averages that relate to certain inquiries or relationships. The meaning of statistics can be understood in two ways: in the plural sense and in the singular sense.