Statistics is the science of the collection, organization, and interpretation of numerical data. It is the branch of mathematics that involves the use of quantified representations, models for the representation and analysis of given empirical and real data. Statistics is a developing discipline. It has been defined as the science of counting, science of averages and science of statistics and probabilities.

Some statistical measures include regression analysis, mean, kurtosis, skewness, analysis of variance and variance. Statistics has a wide variety of applications. Business analytics, econometrics, actuarial science, biostatistics, geostatistics, environmental statistics etc- are some of the fields that require the application of statistics.

The two main branches of statistics are:

  • Descriptive statistics– This branch involves the collection and presentation of data. The presentation of data can be done in various forms like graphs, charts, tables etc. it also involves calculating appropriate statistical averages which would serve as the best representation tools for the data. Descriptive statistics forms the basis for analysis and discussion in such diverse fields as securities trading, the social sciences, government, the health sciences, and professional sports. For example- industrial and population statistics, average age of people who vote etc.
  • Inferential statistics– This branch of statistics involves drawing conclusions from limited information taken on sample basis and testing the reliability of the estimates. It deals with analysis of data, making estimates ad drawing conclusions. The analysis usually starts with a hypothesis and the consistency of the data in accordance to the hypothesis is checked.

For example– if one has to estimate the number of children under 12 years in a country, one can take a population sample and find the proportion of kids aged 12 years or less in that sample. From this sample, using suitable probability techniques, we can estimate the total number of kids under 12 years of age in the entire population.

Both these branches of statistics require the use of scientific methodology and are inter-dependent. Scope of this field is tremendous. There is a great demand for statisticians in the insurance sector and other fields like, management science, information technology, bio-informatics, biostatistics, finance etc. Statistics students make great actuarial scientists.

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