We explain what statistics is, its levels of measurement, history, branches and its importance. Also, differences with probability.

## What is statistics?

Statistics is a formal and deductive scientific discipline, often considered a branch of mathematics, which **studies variability and the laws of probability** through various tools, both conceptual and sampling.

The field of statistics includes the methods and procedures necessary **to collect information from reality and organize it, contextualize it and classify it** in order to obtain viable conclusions, expressed mathematically. It can be said that it is the science of data management.

In this way, statistics contemplates four levels of data measurement, known as **statistical measurement scales, which are:**

**Nominal**which describes variables whose difference between them lies more in quality than quantity.**Ordinal**which describes variables on a continuum in which their values can be ordered, that is, assign a hierarchy or order to the data.**Interval**which describes variables whose values establish recognizable intervals.**Rational**which describes variables with equal intervals and that allows an absolute zero to be placed, so that it represents the absence of characteristics.

Although statistics constitutes a field of study in itself, it is characterized by its transversal nature, that is, by serving as a tool for many other disciplines and sciences, regardless of their specific fields of knowledge: biology, economics, demography. , etc.

## History of statistics

The antecedents of statistics abound in Antiquity, especially when the first great empires with a large population emerged, such as Babylon, Egypt or China, in which the need to count the population and obtain relevant information for the State, regarding collection, was imposed. taxes and other similar matters.

However, **The first recorded methods of calculating probability appear in the correspondence between Pascal and Pierre de Fermat in 1654**. On the other hand, the first scientific treatments of the matter are by Christian Huygens in 1657, as well as the works *Ars conjectandi *by Jackob Bernoulli in 1713 and *Doctrine of possibilities* by Abraham de Moivre in 1718.

**Formally, statistics emerged in the 19th century** when it was recognized as the discipline that studies the ways of collecting data and information. The term had already been coined by the Prussian economist Gottfried Achenwall (1719-1772), who had proposed it as the “science of state affairs”, that is, *Statistics*translated into English as “political arithmetic.”

Although Achenwall is recognized as the father of this discipline, its implementation in other areas of human life is due to the Scottish agronomist John Sinclair (1754-1835).

From then on, the study of statistics and probability has been incessant. One of its fundamental contemporary moments took place at the beginning of the 20th century, when Francis Galton and Karl Peterson transformed their field of study, providing mathematical rigor and applying it not only to science, but to politics and manufacturing.

## Importance of statistics

Statistics has immense relevance in the modern world, which **transcends the specific organizational needs of the population** that the States have. The latter, however, linked to control and decision-making, as well as the implementation of public policies, are fundamental matters for approaching the thinking and way of life of the populations.

But statistics also **serves as an information processing tool for numerous disciplines** both natural sciences and social sciences, since it allows information to be collected regarding objects of any nature.

## Branches of statistics

Statistics, broadly speaking, contemplates two very different branches:

**Descriptive statistics**dedicated to the visualization, classification and numerical or graphic presentation of the data that emerged during the study. Its objective is to facilitate the management of large volumes of data, as occurs in population pyramids, histograms or pie charts.**inferential statistics,**dedicated to generating models and predictions from the studied phenomena, taking into account their random dynamics. Through these mathematical models, it aspires to find useful conclusions or forecasts that transcend the scope of the merely descriptive.

## Statistics and probability

Both statistics and probability are dedicated to the scientific and formal study of chance, but they do so from two different perspectives:

**The probability**for its part, is dedicated to comparing the frequency with which an event occurs, as long as it depends on chance, in search of recognizable patterns that allow concrete predictions to be made.**The statistics**On the other hand, it tries to obtain conclusions from random facts, observing them until it finds the laws that define them and, therefore, allow them to be interpreted.

#### References

- “Statistics” on Wikipedia.
- “What is statistics?” (video) in UnProfesor.
- “What is statistics for?” in Educational Corner of the Ibestat (Spain).
- “Statistics (science)” in The Encyclopaedia Britannica.