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

Edited by Huma Saeed || By Sumera Saeed || Published on November 13, 2023
A discrete variable has distinct, separate values, while a continuous variable can take on an infinite number of values within a range.

## Key Differences

A discrete variable is characterized by specific, individual values that are countable. In contrast, a continuous variable represents quantities that can vary continuously, spanning a potentially infinite range of values.
Sumera Saeed
Nov 13, 2023
For instance, the number of cars in a parking lot is a discrete variable because you can count each car. Conversely, the weight of a person is a continuous variable as it can lie anywhere within a range, say between 50 kg and 100 kg.
Sumera Saeed
Nov 13, 2023
Discrete variables usually arise in scenarios where the outcomes are obtained by counting. On the other hand, continuous variables are typically found in situations where measurements produce a vast array of potential results.
Sumera Saeed
Nov 13, 2023
In the realm of statistics and data analysis, understanding the distinction between a discrete variable and a continuous variable is crucial. This is because the type of variable can determine the kind of statistical tests to be employed.
Sumera Saeed
Nov 13, 2023
Another notable point is that while discrete variables have a finite or countably infinite number of possibilities, continuous variables have uncountably infinite possibilities, making them impossible to enumerate one by one.
Sumera Saeed
Nov 13, 2023

## Comparison Chart

### Nature

Specific, individual values
Varies continuously across a range
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Nov 13, 2023

Counting
Measuring
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Nov 13, 2023

### Number of Possible Values

Finite or countably infinite
Uncountably infinite
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Nov 13, 2023

### Examples

Number of books, shoes in a pair
Weight, height, time
Sara Rehman
Nov 13, 2023

### In Statistics

Analyzed using specific tests
Requires different analytical methods
Sara Rehman
Nov 13, 2023

## Discrete Variable and Continuous Variable Definitions

#### Discrete Variable

Doesn't vary smoothly over a range.
The number of books on a shelf is a discrete variable.
Aimie Carlson
Oct 31, 2023

#### Continuous Variable

Results from measurement processes.
A person's height is a continuous variable.
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Oct 31, 2023

#### Discrete Variable

Has distinct, separate values.
The roll number of a student is a discrete variable.
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Oct 31, 2023

#### Continuous Variable

Doesn't have distinct, separate values.
The time taken to run a mile is a continuous variable.
Aimie Carlson
Oct 31, 2023

#### Discrete Variable

Originates from scenarios that involve counting.
The number of apples in a basket is a discrete variable.
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Oct 31, 2023

#### Continuous Variable

Holds uncountably infinite possibilities.
The amount of milk in a jug is a continuous variable.
Aimie Carlson
Oct 31, 2023

#### Discrete Variable

Represents countable outcomes.
The number of students in a class is a discrete variable.
Huma Saeed
Oct 31, 2023

#### Continuous Variable

Varies smoothly across an interval.
The speed of a car on a highway is a continuous variable.
Sumera Saeed
Oct 31, 2023

#### Discrete Variable

Possesses finite or countably infinite possibilities.
The number of pets a person owns is a discrete variable.
Sara Rehman
Oct 31, 2023

#### Continuous Variable

Can assume infinite values within a given range.
The temperature throughout the day is a continuous variable.
Huma Saeed
Oct 31, 2023

## FAQs

#### Can a discrete variable take decimal values?

Yes, a discrete variable can have decimal values if they represent countable outcomes.
Sumera Saeed
Nov 13, 2023

#### Are all measurements considered continuous variables?

Typically, measurements that can vary smoothly across a range are considered continuous variables.
Sara Rehman
Nov 13, 2023

#### Are continuous variables always numerical?

Continuous variables are typically numerical as they represent quantities that can vary within a range.
Harlon Moss
Nov 13, 2023

#### How does the nature of a variable affect statistical analysis?

The type of variable determines the statistical tests and methods to use.
Janet White
Nov 13, 2023

#### What's an example of a discrete variable in finance?

The number of shares owned by an individual is a discrete variable.
Janet White
Nov 13, 2023

#### Is the number of web page views a discrete or continuous variable?

It's a discrete variable since page views can be counted.
Sara Rehman
Nov 13, 2023

#### How are discrete variables typically represented in data?

Discrete variables can be listed as distinct values, often in whole numbers.
Sara Rehman
Nov 13, 2023

#### What is a discrete variable?

A discrete variable represents distinct, countable values.
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Nov 13, 2023

#### What defines a continuous variable?

A continuous variable can take on an infinite number of values within a specific range.
Huma Saeed
Nov 13, 2023

#### Can age be considered a continuous variable?

Yes, age can be a continuous variable if expressed in precise units like years and days, but often it's treated as discrete when rounded to whole numbers.
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Nov 13, 2023

#### Can a continuous variable be converted into a discrete one?

Yes, by categorizing or grouping the values, a continuous variable can be made discrete.
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Nov 13, 2023

#### What's a real-life example of a continuous variable?

The weight of luggage at an airport check-in is a continuous variable.
Janet White
Nov 13, 2023

#### Are discrete variables easier to visualize?

Often, yes. Discrete variables can be easily visualized using bar charts, while continuous ones might use histograms.
Aimie Carlson
Nov 13, 2023

#### Are all discrete variables whole numbers?

Not necessarily. While many discrete variables are whole numbers, they can also take on distinct decimal values.
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Nov 13, 2023

#### Is blood pressure a discrete or continuous variable?

Blood pressure is a continuous variable as it can vary smoothly across a range.
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Nov 13, 2023

#### Why is a person's height a continuous variable?

Height is continuous because it can vary smoothly within a range and take on countless values.
Harlon Moss
Nov 13, 2023

#### What visualization is best for a continuous variable?

Histograms or line graphs are commonly used to visualize continuous variables.
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Nov 13, 2023

#### In which field is the distinction between discrete and continuous variables crucial?

In statistics and data analysis, distinguishing between discrete and continuous variables is vital.
Aimie Carlson
Nov 13, 2023

#### Can the number of people in a city be considered continuous?

No, it's a discrete variable because people can be counted.
Sumera Saeed
Nov 13, 2023

#### Is salary a discrete or continuous variable?

Though salaries are often rounded and treated as discrete, they can be considered continuous as they can vary within a range.
Janet White
Nov 13, 2023
Written by
Sumera Saeed
Sumera is an experienced content writer and editor with a niche in comparative analysis. At Diffeence Wiki, she crafts clear and unbiased comparisons to guide readers in making informed decisions. With a dedication to thorough research and quality, Sumera's work stands out in the digital realm. Off the clock, she enjoys reading and exploring diverse cultures.
Edited by
Huma Saeed
Huma is a renowned researcher acclaimed for her innovative work in Difference Wiki. Her dedication has led to key breakthroughs, establishing her prominence in academia. Her contributions continually inspire and guide her field.