Population mean and expected value are used synonymously In probability and statistics to refer to one measure of the central tendency either of a probability distribution or of the random variable characterized by that distribution.

In the case of a discrete probability distribution of a random variable X, the mean is equal to the sum over every possible value weighted by the probability of that value; that is, it is computed by taking the product of each possible value x of X and its probability P(x), and then adding all these products together, giving

An analogous formula applies to the case of a continuous probability distribution. Not every probability distribution has a defined mean; see the Cauchy distribution for an example. Moreover, for some distributions the mean is infinite:

For Example: when the probability of the value

For a data set, the terms arithmetic mean, mathematical expectation, and sometimes average are used synonymously to refer to a central value of a discrete set of numbers: specifically, the sum of the values divided by the number of values. The arithmetic mean of a set of numbers x1, x2, ...xn is typically denoted by, pronounced "x bar". If the data set were based on a series of observations obtained by sampling from a statistical population, the arithmetic mean is termed the sample mean  (denoted ) to distinguish it from the population mean  ().


Consider data values of a list: 18, 17, 12,13,14,16,15