Advantages and Disadvantages of Median

Median is a measure of central tendency which is used to calculate the middle value of series of numbers. In order to calculate median one has to arrange the numbers first in ascending order and then find the middle value from that series of numbers. It can be better understood with the help of an example monthly income of 5 individuals is $2000, $4000, $6000, $8000 and $10000 than the middle figure which is $6000 is the median of the above data. In order to understand more about the concept of median one should know the advantages and disadvantages of median –

Advantages of Median

Simple to Understand and Easy to Calculate

The biggest advantage of the median is that very simple to understand as you have to arrange any data first in ascending form and then find out the middle value from that arrangement and hence any individual with basic mathematics knowledge can learn this method and find out the median value of any data. Besides calculation part is also very easy unlike mean where one has to add all numbers and then divide it median requires no addition or division as one has to simply arrange the numbers in ascending order and find the middle number.

Not Affected by Extreme Values

Another advantage of the median is that it does not get affected by an extreme value which is the case with mean. Hence for example, if in the above data if one replaces $10000 with $100000 the also median will come to $6000 whereas mean would have increased from $6000 to $24000 due to one extreme value.

Represent Data Graphically

Median can be used to represent the data graphically which enables the user to understand the data easily as 1 visual speaks thousands of words.

Disadvantages of Median

Large Number of Items

This method is not practical when there are thousands of items in the data because one has to arrange that data first in ascending order and then find the median value which naturally will take lot of time and effort of an individual and hence when the data is huge than median method is not feasible as it will be time-consuming and impractical.

Problem with Even Observations

In case of median if there are odd numbers of observations that one gets the exact median which is the case with above example but if there were even numbers of observations than one had to average the 2 numbers which are in middle and one would have got an approximate figure of the median.

Does not take into Account all Items

In case of median the middle value is given the most significance and therefore other values are not taken into account or given significance which again is a major limitation of some data set or observations.

Percentage or Fraction

If data is in percentage or fraction than one will find it difficult to calculate median of those observations and hence when it comes to fraction or percentage median may not be the ideal method for calculation.

As one can see from the above that median has pros, as well as cons and any individual or company using it, should be aware of pros as well as cons before reaching to any conclusion about the results obtained using median.

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