In the plural sense, statistics refers to the systematic collection of numerical facts. It indicates information in terms of numbers or numerical data such as employment statistics and population statistics.
Statistics in Plural Sense
The aggregate of facts: Statistics is an aggregate of numerical facts and figures. A single value does not represent statistics. For example, “marks of student A is 40” is not statistics. It is simply information. However, “marks of students A, B, and C are 40, 45 and 42 respectively” can be termed as statistics.
Expressed numerically: Statistics expresses qualitative variables in numerical terms. For example, “poverty has declined” is not a statistical statement. However, poverty has declined by 2% during 1995-96” can be termed as a statistical statement.
Collected in a systematic manner: Statistical data is collected in a systematic and planned manner. Data collected without any order or system is unreliable.
Affected by a multitude of causes: Statistical data is affected by a multitude of causes. For example, the data on the demand for a commodity is affected by a number of factors such as price, incomes of consumers, tastes, and preferences.
Collected for a purpose: Statistical data is always collected with a purpose. Data collected without any purpose is useless. For example, for a study of crop production in the country, the region from where and the crops for which data needs to be collected must be pre-decided.
Must facilitate comparison: The collected data must be able to facilitate comparison on various grounds such as time and region.
Maintains a fair degree of accuracy in estimation: Often, estimations (approximations) are made in case of large and voluminous data. However, such estimations must have a fair degree of accuracy.
Statistics in Singular Sense
In the singular sense, statistics refers to the science of studying statistical methods. It indicates the techniques or methods of collecting, organizing, presenting, analyzing, and interpreting data.