How to Calculate the Mean

One Methods:Calculating the Mean

In mathematics, the "mean" is a kind of average found by dividing the sum of a set of numbers by the count of numbers in the set. While it isn't the only kind of average, the mean is the one most people think of when speaking about an average. You can use means for all kinds of useful purposes in your daily life, from calculating the time it takes you to get home from work, to working out how much money you spend in an average week.[1]

Calculating the Mean

  1. Image titled Calculate the Mean Step 1
    Determine the set of values you want to average. These numbers can be big or small, and there can be as many of them as you want. Just make sure you are using real numbers and not variables.
    • Example: 2,3,4,5,6.
  2. Image titled Calculate the Mean Step 2
    Add your values together to find the sum. You can use a calculator or a spreadsheet, or do it by hand if the set is simple enough.
    • Example: 2+3+4+5+6=20.
  3. Image titled Calculate the Mean Step 3
    Count the quantity of values in your group. If you have values that repeat in your set, each one still counts in determining your total.
    • Example: 2,3,4,5, and 6 make for a total of five values.
  4. Image titled Calculate the Mean Step 4
    Divide the sum of the set by the count of values. The result is the mean, or average, of your set. This means that if each number in your set was the mean, they would add up to the same total.
    • Example: 20 ÷ 5 = 4
      Therefore 4 is the mean of the numbers.


  • Other kinds of averages include the "mode" and the "median." The mode is the value repeated most often in any set. The median is the number in a set with an equal quantity of values in the set greater and smaller than it. These averages will often produce different results than the mean from the same set of numbers.

  • How to Find the Median of a Set of Numbers
  • How to Find the Mode of a Set of Numbers
  • How to Learn Math
  • How to Calculate Average Age

Article Info

Categories: Probability and Statistics