An average is a single value which represents the overall middle ground of the given data set. If a data set contains the same number over and over again, this number would automatically be the average. If the data set contains multiple different numbers, which is far more common, the numbers are combined together and additional computations are made to determine the average for the entire data set. The additional computations vary depending on which type of average you are trying to compute.
The most basic type of average, which is taught in basic mathematics, is referred to as the mean, or more specifically the arithmetic mean. The arithmetic mean is what is most commonly used in every day life, outside of higher level mathematics, and is generally what people are referring to when they talk about averages.
Learning to calculate this type of average is fairly straightforward. To calculate an average, you add all of the numbers in a given data set together and divide by the total amount of numbers in the set. For example, let’s say our data set is as follows: 2, 3, 4, 7, 8. Start by adding all of the numbers in the data set together (2+3+4+7+8), which results in 24. Then, you divide this total by the amount of numbers in the data set. In this example, there are 5 numbers in the data set meaning the final computation would be 24/5 making the data set average 4.8.
While this type of average is commonly used in every day situations, there are several more specific types of average calculations. Our average calculators in the list below are the most commonly used average calculations in most branches of mathematics.