DEFINITION of 'Median'

The middle number in a sorted list of numbers. To determine the median value in a sequence of numbers, the numbers must first be arranged in value order from lowest to highest. If there is an odd amount of numbers, the median value is the number that is in the middle, with the same amount of numbers below and above. If there is an even amount of numbers in the list, the middle pair must be determined, added together and divided by two to find the median value. The median can be used to determine an approximate average.


To find the median value in a list with an odd amount of numbers, one would find the number that is in the middle with an equal amount of numbers on either side of the median. To find the median, first arrange the numbers in order from lowest to highest:
List: 3, 13, 2, 34, 11, 26, 47

Arranged in order, the list becomes: 2, 3, 11, 13, 26, 34, 47

The median is the number in the middle: 2, 3, 11, 13, 26, 34, 47

13 is the median in the list of numbers since there are 3 numbers on either side.

To find the median value in a list with an even amount of numbers, first arrange the numbers in order from lowest to highest:

List: 3, 13, 2, 34, 11, 26, 47, 17

Arranged in order, the list becomes: 2, 3, 11, 13, 17, 26, 34, 47

The median is the average of the two numbers in the middle: 2, 3, 11, 13, 17, 26, 34, 47

13 + 17 = 30 30/ 2 = 15. Fifteen is the median value in this list of numbers.

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