Statistics How To

Nominal Ordinal Interval Ratio: Examples

Statistics Definitions > Nominal Ordinal Interval Ratio

Nominal Ordinal Interval Ratio: Examples

1. Nominal

Nominal Ordinal Interval Ratio: Examples.

A pie chart displays groups of nominal variables (i.e. categories).

Nominal: nominal is from the Latin nomalis, which means “pertaining to names”. It’s another name for a category.


  • Gender: Male, Female, Other.
  • Hair Color: Brown, Black, Blonde, Red, Other.
  • Type of living accommodation: House, Apartment, Trailer, Other.
  • Genotype: Bb, bb, BB, bB.
  • Religious preference: Buddhist, Mormon, Muslim, Jewish, Christian, Other.

2. Ordinal

ordinal scale

The ordinal scale classifies according to rank.

Ordinal: means in order. Includes “First,” “second” and “ninety ninth.”


  • High school class ranking: 1st, 9th, 87th…
  • Socioeconomic status: poor, middle class, rich.
  • The Likert Scale: strongly disagree, disagree, neutral, agree, strongly agree.
  • Level of Agreement: yes, maybe, no.
  • Time of Day: dawn, morning, noon, afternoon, evening, night.
  • Political Orientation: left, center, right.

3. Interval

interval scale

Interval: has values of equal intervals that mean something. For example, a thermometer might have intervals of ten degrees.


  • Celsius Temperature.
  • Fahrenheit Temperature.
  • IQ (intelligence scale).
  • SAT scores.
  • Time on a clock with hands.

4. Ratio

ratio scale

Weight is measured on the ratio scale.

Ratio: exactly the same as the interval scale except that the zero on the scale means: does not exist. For example, a weight of zero doesn’t exist; an age of zero doesn’t exist. On the other hand, temperature is not a ratio scale, because zero exists (i.e. zero on the Celsius scale is just the freezing point; it doesn’t mean that water ceases to exist).


  • Age.*
  • Weight.
  • Height.
  • Sales Figures.
  • Ruler measurements.
  • Income earned in a week.
  • Years of education.
  • Number of children.

*It could be argued that age isn’t on the ratio scale, as age 0 is culturally determined. For example, Chinese people also have a nominal age, which is tricky to calculate.


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Statistical concepts explained visually - Includes many concepts such as sample size, hypothesis tests, or logistic regression, explained by Stephanie Glen, founder of StatisticsHowTo.

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