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Skewness

  • In: Encyclopedia of Epidemiology
  • Edited by: Sarah Boslaugh
  • Subject:Public Health (general), Public Health Research Methods , Epidemiology & Biostatistics

If a person says that there is a car parked ‘askew’ in a lined parking space, then we know the car is not parked straight and is closer to one side than the other. This common usage of the idea of skewness carries over into the statistical definition. If a statistical distribution is skewed, then more of the values appear in one end of the distribution than the other. Skewness, then, is a measure of the degree and direction of asymmetry in a distribution. Skewness is also called the third moment about the mean and is one of the two most common statistics used to describe the shape of a distribution (the other is kurtosis). Skewed distributions have values bunched at one end and values ...

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