Range (calculation)

The range

In statistics, the range is a measure of the overall spread of values in a dataset. Although the range may inform about the spread of data of quantitative variables, the information it provides is rather limited and, thus, it is seldom used in statistical analyses.

Interpreting the range

The range is interpreted as "the overall dispersion" of values in a dataset or, more literally, as the "difference between the largest and the smallest value" in a dataset. The range is measured in the same units than the variable of reference and, thus, has a direct interpretation as such. This can be useful when comparing similar variables but of little use when comparing variables with different measurement units.

For example, if you read that the age range of two groups of students is 3 in one group and 7 in another, then you know that the second group is more spread out (there is a difference of seven years between the youngest and the oldest student) than the first (which only sports a difference of three years between the youngest and the oldest student).

Want to know more?

Khan Academy - The range and mid-range
Khan teaches about how to calculate the range in this video.
Khan Academy (undated - embedded from YouTube on 28 April 2012)

Want to know more?

Wiki of Science - Descriptive statistics
This Wiki of Science page provides you access to more descriptive statistics.


Jose D PEREZGONZALEZ (2012). Massey University, Turitea Campus, Private Bag 11-222, Palmerston North 4442, New Zealand. (JDPerezgonzalezJDPerezgonzalez).


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