# Discrete Data vs. Continuous Data: What's the Difference?

Edited by Sawaira Riaz || By Sumera Saeed || Updated on October 17, 2023
Discrete data has distinct, separate values (e.g., number of students); continuous data can take any value within a range (e.g., height).

## Key Differences

Discrete data and continuous data represent two fundamental types of quantitative data in statistics. Discrete data is characterized by distinct, separate values that can be counted. For instance, the number of books in a library or the number of employees in a company falls under discrete data.
Sumera Saeed
Oct 17, 2023
On the other hand, continuous data can assume any value within a specified range. It often deals with measurements rather than counts. For instance, measuring the weight of an individual or the temperature of a room are instances of continuous data.
Sumera Saeed
Oct 17, 2023
While discrete data can only take on a finite number of values, continuous data can potentially take on an infinite number of values. If you think of a number line, discrete data points would be specific points on that line, whereas continuous data could be any point along that line within a certain range.
Sumera Saeed
Oct 17, 2023
In the real world, continuous data is often rounded or approximated because it's impossible to measure with perfect accuracy. For instance, while a person's height is continuous, we might record it to the nearest centimeter or inch. In contrast, discrete data does not require such rounding because it represents whole, countable items.
Janet White
Oct 17, 2023
When graphing these data types, discrete data might be represented using bar graphs, while continuous data is typically shown with histograms or line graphs.
Janet White
Oct 17, 2023

## Comparison Chart

### Type of Values

Distinct, separate values.
Any value within a specified range.
Sumera Saeed
Oct 17, 2023

### Example

Number of students in a class.
Height of students.
Sumera Saeed
Oct 17, 2023

### Representation

Specific points on a number line.
Any point along a number line within range.
Sumera Saeed
Oct 17, 2023

### Real-world Usage

Counts (e.g., items, people).
Measurements (e.g., weight, temperature).
Harlon Moss
Oct 17, 2023

### Graph Representation

Bar graphs.
Histograms or line graphs.
Sumera Saeed
Oct 17, 2023

## Discrete Data and Continuous Data Definitions

#### Discrete Data

Data that can only take certain, distinct values.
The number of pets in each household represents discrete data.
Sawaira Riaz
Oct 17, 2023

#### Continuous Data

Quantitative data that can be measured.
The height of a mountain is an example of continuous data.
Sumera Saeed
Oct 17, 2023

#### Discrete Data

Data that isn't continuous.
The results of a dice roll provide discrete data.
Sumera Saeed
Oct 17, 2023

#### Continuous Data

Data without distinct, separate values.
The time it takes for a train to complete a journey is continuous data.
Sumera Saeed
Oct 17, 2023

#### Discrete Data

Values that are distinct and separate.
The shoe sizes sold in a store are discrete data.
Sumera Saeed
Oct 17, 2023

#### Continuous Data

Infinite possible values within a specified range.
The weights of babies at birth provide continuous data.
Sumera Saeed
Oct 17, 2023

#### Discrete Data

Data that has specific possible outcomes.
The number of goals scored in a soccer match is discrete data.
Sara Rehman
Oct 17, 2023

#### Continuous Data

Data that can assume any value in a given range.
The amount of rainfall in a city represents continuous data.
Sawaira Riaz
Oct 17, 2023

#### Discrete Data

Quantitative data that can be counted.
The number of cars in a parking lot is an example of discrete data.
Sumera Saeed
Oct 17, 2023

#### Continuous Data

Data that flows and doesn't have gaps or jumps.
The speed of a car on a highway represents continuous data.
Harlon Moss
Oct 17, 2023

## FAQs

#### Can the number of pages in a book be considered discrete data?

Yes, because the number of pages is a countable, distinct value.
Sumera Saeed
Oct 17, 2023

#### What is a key characteristic of discrete data?

Discrete data consists of distinct, separate values.
Sumera Saeed
Oct 17, 2023

#### Is a person's age an example of continuous data?

While age can be considered continuous, it's often treated as discrete when measured in whole years.
Aimie Carlson
Oct 17, 2023

#### How is continuous data typically represented?

Continuous data is often shown using histograms or line graphs.
Sawaira Riaz
Oct 17, 2023

#### Can discrete data take decimal values?

Yes, as long as the values are distinct and countable.
Sara Rehman
Oct 17, 2023

#### Is temperature an example of continuous data?

Yes, because temperature can take any value within a range.
Sumera Saeed
Oct 17, 2023

#### How are discrete data points represented on a graph?

Discrete data points are often represented using individual bars or dots.
Harlon Moss
Oct 17, 2023

#### Are percentages examples of discrete or continuous data?

While they can vary continuously, percentages are often treated as discrete when they represent distinct, countable categories.
Sumera Saeed
Oct 17, 2023

#### What kind of data is the weight of a bag of apples?

It's continuous data, as the weight can be any value within a range.
Janet White
Oct 17, 2023

#### Can continuous data be converted to discrete data?

Yes, continuous data can be binned or rounded to be treated as discrete.
Aimie Carlson
Oct 17, 2023

#### Is the number of students in a classroom discrete or continuous?

It's discrete data because it's a countable number.
Sumera Saeed
Oct 17, 2023

#### Is blood pressure an example of continuous data?

Yes, because blood pressure can vary within a range.
Sumera Saeed
Oct 17, 2023

#### How is discrete data different from categorical data?

While both are non-continuous, discrete data is quantitative, and categorical data is qualitative.
Aimie Carlson
Oct 17, 2023

#### Can data be both discrete and continuous?

Not simultaneously. A dataset is either discrete or continuous, but how it's treated can vary based on context.
Sumera Saeed
Oct 17, 2023

#### How is the accuracy of continuous data ensured?

Accuracy is ensured through precise measurement tools and techniques.
Janet White
Oct 17, 2023

#### How can data collection methods impact whether data is discrete or continuous?

The tool or method used can determine the type of data; for instance, a digital scale might give continuous data, while a manual count gives discrete data.
Harlon Moss
Oct 17, 2023

#### Why might someone choose to work with discrete over continuous data?

Discrete data can be simpler to analyze, especially when precise measurements aren't critical.
Sumera Saeed
Oct 17, 2023

#### Can discrete data be qualitative?

Typically, discrete data is quantitative, but some qualitative data, like "yes" or "no" responses, can be treated as discrete.
Sara Rehman
Oct 17, 2023

#### How does rounding affect continuous data?

Rounding can transform continuous data into a more discrete form.
Sara Rehman
Oct 17, 2023

#### What tool is commonly used to measure continuous data?

Instruments like rulers, scales, or thermometers are used to measure continuous data.
Aimie Carlson
Oct 17, 2023