Explain The Difference Between a Discrete and a Continuous Variable. Give an Example of Each Not Included in The Text

When studying data and statistics, you often encounter two types of variables: discrete and continuous. These variables are crucial in understanding the world around us and making sense of the information we collect. Let's explore the key differences between these two types of variables and provide examples for better comprehension.

Discrete Variables:

Discrete variables are like countable things. They represent separate, distinct values and cannot take on any intermediate values between two adjacent points. Think of them as whole numbers that you can easily count. These variables are often used to measure items or occurrences that come in distinct units.


An excellent example of a discrete variable is "number of siblings." You can count your siblings, and the value will always be a whole number. For instance, you might have 0 siblings (only child), 2 siblings, or 5 siblings. It cannot be 2.5 or 4.3 siblings since you can't have a fraction of a sibling.

Continuous Variables:

In contrast, continuous variables are those that can take on any value within a specific range. They allow for infinite possibilities between any two points. Continuous variables are usually measured along a continuum and are not restricted to whole numbers.


An example of a continuous variable is "height." You can measure someone's height and obtain values like 150 cm, 163.5 cm, or 175 cm. There are countless possibilities between any two height values, as individuals can be 150.1 cm, 150.01 cm, and so on, down to infinitesimal decimal places.