Chapters
In this guide on descriptive statistics, we introduced you to the fundamental concepts of descriptive statistics. In this section, we’ll put those skills to the test with a few practice problems. Don’t worry if you’re having trouble remembering certain formulas or ideas, you can always compare your answers to the solutions posted below.
Practice Problems
Problem 1
A study has shown that males in the UK have steadily grown in height from the 1800s to 1980. Based on the data below, find the mean height for each sixtyyear period. Then, choose an appropriate chart or plot to visualize this data.
Year  Height in Cm 
1810  169.7 
1820  169.1 
1830  166.7 
1840  166.5 
1850  165.6 
1860  166.6 
1870  167.2 
1880  168 
1890  167.4 
1900  169.4 
1910  170.9 
1920  171 
1930  173.9 
1940  174.9 
1950  176 
1960  176.9 
1970  177.1 
1980  176.8 
Problem 2
There are multiple data sources on the subject you are currently studying  weights of students in college. You’re interested in data that has low variability and a large sample size, the problem is that the data you found isn’t in kilograms but in pounds. Using variance and standard deviation in pounds (1 kg = 2.20462 lb), which data set out of the following would you choose?
Measure  Data Set A  Data Set B  Data Set C 
Sample Size  15 670  4 500  9 334 
Mean  550  464  534 
Standard Deviation  432  140  210 
Problem 3
You want to investigate the average amount of time people aged 20 to 40 spend on the phone each week. Interpret the chart below by finding the group mean of the hours spent on the phone.
Age  Hours 
2022  45 
2325  36 
2628  25 
2931  16 
3234  12 
3537  8.5 
3840  4 
Problem 4
You’re thinking about buying a new computer and are interested in looking at the price of computers on the market. Your budget is between 400 and 600 pounds. What percentage of the computers on the market are between your price range given the information below?
Mean Price of Computers on the Market  540 pounds 
SD of Computers on the Market  120 pounds 
Problem 5
You are studying the differences of the distributions of streams on a popular music streaming service called Dotify. You find the following chart in a report that studies the number of streams during the first quarter of the year. Interpret the chart using the table provided, measures of central tendency and variability. Keep in mind the data are in thousands.
January  February  March  
Q0  90  65  85 
Q1  120  90  115 
Q2  130  100  125 
Q3  140  110  135 
Q4  160  125  155 
Problem 6
You are studying the frequency of the number of deaths each year for the top 10 causes of death, taken from the World Health Organization. Keep in mind that communicable diseases can pass from individual to individual. Given the following information, interpret the chart below.
Cause of Death  Type  Frequency (in millions) 
Ischaemic Heart Disease  Noncommunicable  9433 
Stroke  Noncommunicable  5781 
Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease  Noncommunicable  3041 
Lower Respiratory Infections  Communicable  2957 
Alzheimer Disease and Other Dementias  Noncommunicable  1992 
Trachea, Bronchus, Lung Cancers  Noncommunicable  1708 
Diabetes Mellitus  Noncommunicable  1599 
Road Injury  Injury  1402 
Diarrhoeal Diseases  Communicable  1383 
Tuberculosis  Communicable  1293 
Solutions to Practice Problems
Solution Problem 1
Here, we need to:
 Find the mean of each period
 Plot this data
First, we find the mean by applying the formula for the mean,
Year  Height in Cm 
1810  1860 

1870  1920 

1930  1980 

As we can see, the average height increases over time. This becomes even more apparent when we plot the data.
Solution Problem 2
Here, you were asked to:
 Convert the variance and SD to pounds using the conversion 1 kg = 2.20462 lb
 Choose a data set with low variability and a large sample size
To convert the variance and SD, we simply need to follow the rules for changing units, as seen in the table below.
Measure  Data Set A  Data Set B  Data Set C 
Sample Size  15 670  4 500  9 334 
Mean 



Standard Deviation 



CV  79%  30%  39% 
To find a preferred data set, you can use the coefficient of variation. Recall that the formula is,
[\
CV = \frac{s}{\bar{x}} *100%
\]
Which tells us the proportion of the standard deviation to the mean. This is what appears in the last row of the table. Because Data Set C has the second lowest variability but almost double the sample size of Data Set B, we’ll choose Data Set C.
Solution Problem 3
In this problem, in order to interpret the chart you where asked to,
 Interpret the chart by finding the group mean of the hours spent on the phone
To find the group mean, you simply have to follow the formula,
Age  Hours  
2022  45  21  945 
2325  36  24  864 
2628  25  27  675 
2931  16  30  480 
3234  12  33  396 
3537  8.5  36  306 
3840  4  39  156 
Total  146.5  3822 
Plugging this into the formula, you get,
Which means that the group average is ages 2628. This can be seen in the chart below.
Solution Problem 4
In this problem, you were asked to find:
 The percentage of computers on the market in your price range
To do this, we first have to find the zscores of the upper and lower limits of our budget. Then, we’ll look these zscores up in the lefttail ztable to find the percentages these two points represent on a normal distribution.
You’re thinking about buying a new computer and are interested in looking at the price of computers on the market. Your budget is between 400 and 600 pounds. What percentage of the computers on the market are between your price range given the information below?
ZScore  Value 
Lower Limit: 400 pounds 

Upper Limit: 600 pounds 

Recall that negative zscores are found by simply taking 1 minus the absolute value of that zscore. Take a look at the image below for more clarification.
Because the distribution is symmetrical, we know that 1  the righttail probability is the same magnitude as the negative zscore. Find the zscore in the image below.
Finding the probability of 1.17 in the ztable, we get 0.87900, which gives us the negative probability of,
While the zscore for 0.5, looking at the ztable, is 0.69146.
To find the interval of the two probabilities, we simply take the difference between the two. This can be clarified in the image below.
The percentage, then, is,
Which means about 57% of the computers on the market are within your budget.
Solution Problem 5
In this problem, you were asked to:
 Interpret the chart
Find sample responses in the table below.
Measure  Interpretation 
Q0  January had the highest minimum streams, at 90,000 
IQR = Q3 – Q1  All months had the same IQR of 20,000, which is where 50% of the data lies 
Q2  February had the lowest median streams, with 110,000 
Solution Problem 6
In this problem, you had to,
 Interpret the chart given the data table
Find some sample responses in the table below
Response  Interpretation 
Ischaemic heart disease, stroke, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, dementias, lung cancers and diabetes mellitus make up 77% of the top 10 causes of death  77% of the top 10 causes of death are made up of noncommunicable diseases 
Road Injury makes up only 5% of the top 10 causes of death  Injury makes up only 5% of the top 10 causes of death in the world 
Lower respiratory infections, diarrhoeal diseases and tuberculosis make up about 18% of the top 10 causes of death  Communicable diseases make up 18% of the top 10 causes of death 
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