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Parameter vs. Statistic: When to Use Statistic vs. Parameter (with Useful Examples)


Parameter vs. statistic! When studying statistics, you might come across many terms that, if you aren’t fully concentrated, will create a lot of confusion. For example, take parameter and statistic. Both these words give us information about a group, for example, a percentage of people who like dogs. But what is the difference between the two terms?

Parameter vs. Statistic

If you are talking about a PARAMETER, you are talking about the whole population. On the other hand, a STATISTIC describes only a sample of the population. Let’s see a few examples to figure out exactly what is meant by that.


  • Parameter: In 2010, the population of the town numbered about 5000.
  • Statistic: According to a survey of 606 city residents, garbage collection was the city service people liked most.

When to Use Parameter vs. Statistic

Let’s say that a survey found that 70% of 500 school students have pets. For this survey, each and every one of these 500 students has been asked, so we know the answers from everyone in the entire population. Therefore, in this case, we have a parameter.

But what if you read an article that says that (all numbers assumed) 80% of Europeans have at least one car? It’s impossible to ask all the Europeans. Most probably, only a sample of people who live in Europe has been asked and, based on their answers, the writers of the article made an assumption about the whole population. So, what we have is a statistic.

When it comes to determining what you have in front of you, a parameter or a statistic, ask yourself, was it possible to survey an entire population that you see? If there’s a fact about thirty employees of a company or fifty couples, then it’s obvious that everyone has been actually surveyed. However, if the fact is about a very large population, such as all the residents of a city or all car owners, there’s no way that everyone has been asked. Therefore, in the first case, you have a parameter, and in the second one, you’re looking at a statistic.

Because a parameter is found out only when you know data about everyone in the population, it’s fixed. In contrast, a statistic that describes the same population can vary. This is because you can take different samples from the same population and thus get different results. So, a parameter is obviously more reliable than a statistic. Still, when a population is so large that nobody has the time or the resources to ask everyone, a statistic will provide enough information to draw conclusions.

Parameter vs. Statistic Examples


  • This city has a population of more than 1000000.
  • The average weekly income for all students is $501.
  • There are 305 doctors in this hospital.
  • The number of students enrolled at the college is 15000.


  • A survey of 2000 federation members had shown that 48% believed police should have the right to take industrial action.
  • A recent survey of a sample of 300 college students reported that the average weekly income for students is $275.

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Parameter vs. Statistic: When to Use Parameter vs. Statistic

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