# Difference Between Variance and Standard Deviation

Variance and standard deviation are two important tools in statistics used to understand how spread out a set of data is. Variance shows how much the numbers in the dataset differ from the average number. Standard deviation tells us the average distance between each number and the average number. Knowing the difference between these two measures is very important for analyzing data and creating statistical models. In this article, we will explain what they are, how they are related, their differences, and how they are used.

## Introduction to Variance and Standard Deviation

Variance and standard deviation are often confused but are actually different measures. Variance is the average of the squared differences from the mean, while standard deviation is the square root of the variance. Both help in understanding how spread out a dataset is, but they have different properties and interpretations.

**Also Check: Convex Polygon**

## Variance

Variance measures how spread out the data points in a set are. It shows how much the individual values differ from the average. One simple way to measure variance is by using the range, which is the difference between the highest and lowest values in the dataset. However, the range can be misleading, especially in large datasets or when there are extreme values (outliers).

### Formula for Variance

σ^{2}= Σ (x_{i}- μ)^{2}/ N

Where:

- σ
^{2}= the variance - x
_{i}= each value in the data set - μ = the mean (average) of the data set
- N = the number of values in the data set

### Properties of Variance

- Variance is always a non-negative number.
- Like standard deviation, variance can be affected by extreme values (outliers) in the data set.
- Variance is measured in the square of the units of the data.
- Variance is sensitive to changes in the data set.

**Also Check: Cosine Function**

## Standard Deviation

Standard deviation is a measure of how spread out the numbers in a dataset are. It gives a more reliable measure of variance than the range and is widely used in statistical analysis. Standard deviation calculates the average distance of each number from the mean (average) of the dataset.

### Formula for Standard Deviation

The formula for standard deviation is:

σ = √Σ (xi - μ)² / N

Where:

- σ = standard deviation
- xi = each value in the dataset
- μ = mean of the dataset
- N = number of values in the dataset

### Properties of Standard Deviation

**Non-negative**: Standard deviation is always zero or positive.**Influenced by Outliers**: It can be affected by extreme values in the dataset.**Units**: It is measured in the same units as the data.**Sensitivity**: It is sensitive to changes in the data.

Understanding these properties helps in using standard deviation effectively in data analysis and interpretation.

## Variance and Standard Deviation Relationship

Variance and standard deviation are closely connected and both measure how spread out a dataset is. In fact, the standard deviation is just the square root of the variance.

The formula for the standard deviation is the square root of the variance:

**σ = √(σ ^{2})**

Where:

**σ**is the standard deviation**σ**is the variance^{2}

To put it simply, the variance is the average of the squared differences from the mean, while the standard deviation is the square root of this average. Standard deviation is often preferred over variance because it has the same units as the data, making it easier to understand, whereas the units of variance are squared.

### Example

Let's look at a set of exam scores for a class of 10 students:

{85, 90, 75, 80, 95, 85, 90, 70, 80, 85}

First, we need to find the mean (average) of these scores:

mean = (85 + 90 + 75 + 80 + 95 + 85 + 90 + 70 + 80 + 85) / 10 = 83

Next, we calculate the variance. Variance measures how far each score is from the mean:

variance = [(85-83)^{2} + (90-83)^{2} + (75-83)^{2} + (80-83)^{2} + (95-83)^{2} + (85-83)^{2} + (90-83)^{2} + (70-83)^{2} + (80-83)^{2} + (85-83)^{2}] / 10

= (4 + 49 + 64 + 9 + 144 + 4 + 49 + 169 + 9 + 4) / 10 = 54.8

Finally, we find the standard deviation, which is the square root of the variance:

## Key Differences Between Variance and Standard Deviation

Variance and standard deviation are both used to measure how spread out a set of data is, but they differ in their definition, calculation, units, sensitivity to outliers, and interpretation. Variance is a broader term and can be calculated in various ways, while standard deviation is specifically the square root of the variance and gives a more precise measure of data spread. Here are the main differences between variance and standard deviation:

Aspect |
Variance |
Standard Deviation |

Definition | General term referring to the degree of difference between individual values in a data set | Specific measure of the amount of variance or dispersion of a data set |

Calculation | Can be calculated as the range, interquartile range, or variance | Always calculated as the square root of the variance |

Units | Has the same units as the data | Units are the square root of the units of the data |

Sensitivity to Outliers | Can be heavily influenced by outliers in the data set | Less sensitive to outliers than variance |

Interpretation | Provides a general sense of how spread out the data is | Provides a more specific, quantitative measure of how spread out the data is |

## Applications of Variance and Standard Deviation

Variance and standard deviation are crucial in various fields. Here are some examples of their applications:

### Applications of Variance

**Finance:**Used to measure the risk of an investment portfolio. Higher variance means greater risk; lower variance means lower risk.**Quality Control:**Measures the variability in a manufacturing process. High variance can indicate a process is out of control and needs improvement.**Biology and Ecology:**Measures population variability. High variance may signal an unstable population at risk of decline or extinction.

### Applications of Standard Deviation

**Statistics:**Commonly used to measure the spread of a dataset. It’s helpful for comparing different datasets by summarizing their dispersion in a single value.**Medical Research:**Describes the variability of measurements in clinical trials, often used to evaluate the effectiveness of a treatment by comparing the mean values and standard deviations of two groups.**Sports:**Measures a player's performance consistency. A low standard deviation indicates consistent and reliable performance, while a high standard deviation suggests inconsistency and unpredictability.

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## Frequently Asked Questions on Difference Between Variance and Standard Deviation

Variance is preferred over mean deviation because it has better mathematical properties, such as differentiability, which simplifies calculations and analysis. Variance also has a simple relationship with sums and averages, making it a more useful measure of dispersion.

Standard deviation is a statistical measure that quantifies the amount of variation or dispersion of a dataset from its mean. It is calculated as the square root of the variance and provides a measure of spread in the same units as the data.

Both variance and standard deviation measure the spread or dispersion of a dataset from its mean. They provide insights into the consistency or volatility of the data by indicating how much the values deviate from the average.

Mean is the average value of a dataset, calculated by summing all the values and dividing by the total number of data points. Variance measures the average squared deviation from the mean, while standard deviation is the square root of variance.

Variance is used when the squared units of measurement are meaningful, such as in finance when analyzing investment risks. Standard deviation is preferred when the units of measurement need to be in the same scale as the original data for easier interpretation.

The purpose of variance is to measure the average squared deviation from the mean, providing a measure of the spread or dispersion of a dataset. It is used to assess the risk or volatility of investments and analyze the consistency of data.

The main difference between mean deviation and variance is that mean deviation uses the absolute value of the difference between each data point and the mean, while variance uses the squared difference. This makes variance more mathematically tractable and suitable for certain statistical analyses.