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How to Calculate Median Value

Median values are useful in statistics and probability theory. With a little practice, you'll be able to find the median value for any list of numbers.


  • Step 1: Understand that the median value doesn't have to be in the list. If your list has an even number of numbers and you find the middle pair, you can find the median value.
  • FACT: According to the 2007 U. S. census, the median wage and salary income for male workers in 2005 was $34,926, but only $23,546 for women.
  • Step 2: Find the middle pair of numbers in an even numbered list of numbers. Then add the pair together and divide the sum by two. The dividend -- or average of the two -- is the median number. In the list, 11, 17, 18, 22, 22, and 35, 18 and 22 are the middle pair. Add them together to get 40. Divide 40 by two to get a median value of 20.
  • TIP: It doesn't matter if numbers occur more than once in the list.
  • Step 3: Arrange the given numbers into numerical order according to their values and write them down. If your given numbers are 17, 12, and 25, write: 12, 17, 25. The median value -- the number in the middle -- is 17.
  • Step 4: Arrange any odd-numbered list of numbers according to their values and find the middle number to identify the median number. In a list of five numbers, such as 13, 13, 33, 34, 42, the median value is 33. Half of the list is less than 33 and half of the list is more than 33.
  • Step 5: Determine the numbers for which you want to calculate the median. You must have a group of numbers to have a median.

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