What is the difference between Median and Average?


I was looking up the average networth of 30 year olds in the United States and it said: “The average net worth is $122,000 and the median net worth is $35,112” my brain is too smooth please help.

In: 8

Average is adding up all of the values, then dividing by the number of values.

Median is the middle value, and is not affected by the size of the values on either side.

Average is adding up everyone’s net worth and dividing it by the number of people there.

The median is if you line up everyone from least to highest net worth what would the middle person be, or the middle of the 2 middle people if you have an even number.

So if the net worths of 10 people ($K) were:
10, 15, 20, 25, 30, 35, 40, 50, 60, 90, 850

The median is 32.5K and the average is 122.5K.

Literally the first google answer:


“Average and median are both measures of “central tendency,” in that they are intended to provide some indication of a typical or middle value of a set of data. The average is calculated by adding up all of the individual values and dividing this total by the number of observations. The median is calculated by taking the “middle” value, the value for which half of the observations are larger and half are smaller.

When there is a possibility of extreme values, the median is generally the better measure to use. To see this, suppose that five homes sold in a market with the following prices: $80,000, $90,000, $100,000, $110,000 and $500,000. The median price is $100,000, while the average price is (80,000 + 90,000 + 100,000 + 110,000 + 500,000) / 5 = $176,000. In this instance, the single high-priced home pulled up the average price well above the prices of the more typical homes in the market. Thus, the median price provides a better measure of the typical value of a home.”

*Median* is one type of average. You put all the sample into order and then the median is at the halfway mark. For income it means half the population earn more and half earn less.

*Mean* is another type of average – you add all the sample values together and then divide by the number of samples. The number might not be what any individual sample scores.

Median is useful for things like income and wealth as it cuts off the outlier values. Eg for income a handful of billionaires can radically skew the result to show a much higher income or wealth than any ordinary person is realistically on.

Mean is useful for a lot of statistical analysis, and for some types of average when the distribution of results follows a certain pattern and there are either no outliers or outliers are balanced.

There’s another average called “Mode” – this is the value that’s most common. Mode is more for things where the samples can’t really be put into order – eg what color is the average car. Median doesn’t work. Mean would be weird. Mode is more useful here.

“Average” is somewhat ambiguous, though it usually means the mean of a set of numbers. Say you’ve got the set 1,1,2,3,13.

* Mean: 4. (1+1+2+3+13)/5
* Median: 2. (the one in the middle)
* Mode: 1. (the most common)