## What is the Arithmetic Mean?

The arithmetic mean is another name for the mean or the average. When someone talks about the mean of a data set, they are usually talking about the arithmetic mean (most people just drop the word “arithmetic”). It’s called a different name to set it apart from other means found in math, including the geometric mean.

The mean is influenced by outliers , so it isn’t always a good indicator of where the middle of a data set is. For data sets that have either a lot of low values or a lot of high values, the median is often a better way to describe the “middle.”

## How to find the Arithmetic Mean

Finding the arithmetic mean takes two steps: add all the numbers up and then divide by the number of items in your set. The arithmetic mean is found in the exact same way as a sample mean (“sample” here just means a number of items in your data set). Watch the video, or read the steps below:

**Sample problem:** Find the arithmetic mean for average driving speed for one car over a 6 hour journey: 54 mph, 57 mph, 58 mph, 66 mph, 69 mph, 71 mph

Step 1: Add all the numbers up: 54 + 57 + 58 + 66 + 69 + 71 = 375.

Step 2: Divide by the number of items in the set. For this set there are 6 numbers, so:

375 / 6 = 62.5.

Answer: The average driving speed is 62.5 mph.

For another example with steps, see the next article:

How to find the mean

## Population vs. Sample Mean

If your data is a population, then the mean is called a population mean, represented by the letter μ. If the list is a sample, it’s called a sample mean x̄.

Check out our YouTube channel for hundreds of basic/elementary stats videos.

------------------------------------------------------------------------------**Confused and have questions?** Head over to Chegg and use code “CS5OFFBTS18” (exp. 11/30/2018) to get $5 off your first month of Chegg Study, so you can understand any concept by asking a subject expert and getting an in-depth explanation online 24/7.

**Comments? Need to post a correction?** Please post a comment on our *Facebook page*.