What is 'Mode'

The mode is a statistical term that refers to the most frequently occurring number found in a set of numbers. The mode is found by collecting and organizing data in order to count the frequency of each result. The result with the highest number of occurrences is the mode of the set.

Other popular measures of central tendency include the mean, or the average of a set; and the median, or the middle value in a set.

BREAKING DOWN 'Mode'

For example, in the following list of numbers, 16 is the mode since it appears more times than any other number in the set:
3, 3, 6, 9, 16, 16, 16, 27, 27, 37, 48

A set of numbers can have more than one mode (this is known as bimodal) if there are multiple numbers that occur with equal frequency, and more times than the others in the set.

3, 3, 3, 9, 16, 16, 16, 27, 37, 48

In this example, both the number 3 and the number 16 are modes. If no number in a set of numbers occurs more than once, that set has no mode:

3, 6, 9, 16, 27, 37, 48

Advantages and Disadvantages of the Mode

Advantages

  • It is easy to understand and simple to calculate.
  • It is not affected by extremely large or small values.
  • It can be located just by inspection in ungrouped data and discrete frequency distribution.
  • It can be useful for qualitative data.
  • It can be computed in an open-end frequency table.
  • It can be located graphically.

Disadvantages

  • It is not well defined.
  • It is not based on all the values.
  • It is stable for large values so it will not be well defined if the data consists of a small number of values.
  • It is not capable of further mathematical treatment.
  • Sometimes the data has one or more than one mode, and sometimes the data has no mode at all.
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