Difference Between Sample Standard Deviation and Population Standard Deviation

Edited by Diffzy | Updated on: April 30, 2023


Difference Between Sample Standard Deviation and Population Standard Deviation

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A statistic known as the standard deviation is used to describe how volatile or dispersed a group of numerical values is. A collection's mean sometimes referred to as the anticipated value, is indicated by a low standard deviation, whereas a larger standard deviation suggests that values are dispersed over a greater range. Although they are essentially different, the standard deviation of a population or sample and the standard error of a statistic (such as the sample mean) are related ideas. The sample means the standard error is the standard deviation of the set of means that would be found by taking an infinite number of repeated samples from the population and computing a mean for each sample. The mean standard error is obtained by dividing the sample standard deviation by the square root of the sample size, which is equivalent to dividing the population standard deviation by the sample size. For instance, the predicted standard deviation of the estimated mean if the same poll were to be conducted more than once is the poll's standard error, which is presented as the margin of error. As a result, the standard error calculates the standard deviation of an estimate, which in turn quantifies how much the estimate depends on the specific sample of the population that was used to generate it.

The lower-case Greek letter (sigma), for the population standard deviation, or the Latin symbol s, for the sample standard deviation, are most frequently used in mathematical texts and equations to indicate standard deviation. Standard deviation may be written as SD. A random variable, sample, statistical population, data set, or probability distribution's standard deviation is equal to the square root of its variance. Although less robust in practice, it is algebraically easier than the average absolute deviation. The fact that the standard deviation is expressed in the same unit as the data, as opposed to the variance, makes it a valuable statistic.

A statistical measure of variability, the standard deviation, demonstrates how frequently a group of numbers deviates from the mean on average. Smaller standard deviations are related to values that are closer to the meanwhile larger standard deviations are related to values that are more distributed. The standard deviation is a metric that reveals how much variance from the mean there is, including spread, dispersion, and spread. A "typical" variation from the mean is shown by the standard deviation. Because it uses the data set's original units of measurement, it is a well-liked measure of variability. When data points are closely spaced from the mean, there is a small variation, and when they are far spaced from the mean, there is a large variation. The standard deviation determines how much the values deviate from the mean. The most popular way to assess dispersion is standard deviation, which is based on all values. Therefore, even a small change in one value can modify the standard deviation's value. Although it is independent of scale, it is not. Additionally, it helps with some complex statistical issues.

How Precise Is The Calculation Of The Standard Deviation?

Three factors are included in the standard deviation formula. The value of each data point acts as the first variable in a data collection, and a sum number designates each further variable (x, x1, x2, x3, etc). The mean affects both the amount of data assigned to the variable n and the values of the variable M. The sum of all squared departures from the arithmetic means is the variance. The mean value is obtained by summing the values of the different data items and dividing the result by the total number of data entities. The root-mean-square deviation, denoted by the symbol, is equal to the square root of the mean of the squares of all the values of a series calculated from the arithmetic mean. The smallest value that can be used is 0 because the standard deviation cannot be negative. When the individual components of a series diverge from the mean, the standard deviation rises.

The statistical measure of dispersion known as standard deviation computes the erroneousness of the dispersion among the data. The metrics of central tendency include mean median and mode. In light of this, these are regarded as the centre first order averages. The measurements of dispersion that were previously described are second-order averages since they are averaging out departures from the average values.

Sample Standard Deviation vs. Population Standard Deviation

The fundamental distinction between sample standard deviation and population standard deviation is that, when determining the data distribution using a particular data set, sample deviation only employs random data. However, population standard deviation applies a different algorithm to population data to determine the data distribution.

Sample Mathematics classes typically cover the subject of standard deviation. It is mostly used to locate remote data. A formula is used to calculate this kind of variance. To calculate it, you also need the values of a few other terms in addition to the formula. It even references that term using a unique symbol.

A technique for calculating standard deviation is called population standard deviation. This approach uses a formula to identify the solution. This approach involves a few stages to discover the solution. This can be studied by students at their academic level. However, kids will learn more complex higher-level difficulties in their higher courses, and they will be able to comprehend them better.

Difference Between Sample Standard Deviation and Population Standard Deviation in Tabular Form

Parameters of Comparison Sample Standard Deviation Population Standard Deviation
Big Problem Yes No
Formula Yes No
Used For Used to determine the distribution of the data. Finding the value of data dispersion is its purpose.
Sample Random The entire populace.
Qualitative Difference A statistic is the sample standard deviation. This indicates that it is calculated using data from a small portion of the population. A parameter, or fixed value calculated from each member of the population, is the population standard deviation.

What is Sample Standard Deviation?

Let's examine its applications before understanding the sample standard deviation formula. In a real-world setting, when the population size N is big, it becomes challenging to determine the value xi for each observation in the population, making it challenging to determine the population's standard deviation (or variance). In these circumstances, the standard deviation can be estimated by computing it on a sample of size n drawn from a population of size N. The sample standard deviation refers to this calculated variation (S). Considering that the sample standard deviation is a statistic that is computed from a small sample of the reference population. Since the sample has more variety, its standard deviation is usually always higher.

The Following Steps Are Used To Determine The Sample Standard Deviation:

  • Determine the average (simple average of the numbers).
  • Subtract the mean from each integer, then square the result.
  • Add up each result that has been squared.
  • Subtract one from the total number of data points to arrive at this sum (n - 1). We'll get the sample variance from this.
  • Get the sample standard deviation by taking the square root of this number.

A technique for gauging the distribution of the data is sample standard deviation. With the formula, it is completed. Math employs this kind of idea. It relates to the subject of statistics. In addition to studying this in school, students also study this in college. Regardless of the kind they selected, this will occur if they are taking math or another statistical topic. It is intriguing while also requiring extra time to tackle the issue. You can cut down on the amount of time it takes to compute if you utilise an excel sheet. It will take some time to solve the total using a calculator. Additionally, you must enter the values with extreme caution. You can have the wrong outcome in the end with just one minor error.

Sigma is another name for this standard deviation. For that, it has a different symbol. You require original data to calculate the sample standard deviation. You will receive the data set in advance. But you need the values of other terms to calculate the standard deviation. The sample standard deviation can only then be determined by you. It is occasionally estimated in addition to the sample variance.

What is Population Standard Deviation?

A technique for determining the data distribution is to utilise the population standard deviation. You need to have the formula to determine this kind of standard deviation. You must complete the steps to solve the problem to determine the population standard deviation. Finding the mean of the provided problem by computing the supplied data is the first step you must take. The problem itself will have all the information. The mean must be taken and subtracted from all of the given data in the problem as the second step you must take. The third action you must take is to square all the values to make them all positive. The addition of all squared values is the fourth step. Divide the values as the fifth step. Taking the square root of the divided value is the sixth step. You will receive the population standard deviation value as a result.

Statistics courses cover problems of this nature. There are numerous ways to calculate the standard deviation. And one such technique for determining the standard deviation is this. You might discover that the population standard deviation result is equal to the square root of the variance when you calculate the population standard deviation result.

Step-by-Step Procedure for Calculating the Population Standard Deviation

  • Step 1: Determine the population data's mean.
  • Step 2: Square each difference after subtracting the mean from each value in the data set.
  • Step 3: Calculate the average of Step 2 squared differences.
  • Step 4 Take the square root of the outcome from Step 3 in Step 4. The standard deviation is as follows.

Difference Between Sample Standard Deviation and Population Standard Deviation In Points

  • When the issue is significant, we can use the sample standard deviation. On the other hand, if the issue is minor, you can utilise the population standard deviation.
  • Random data are used to calculate sample deviation. However, population data are used to calculate population standard deviation.
  • A formula is used to calculate sample deviation. The calculation of population standard deviation also needs a formula.
  • A data set with a sample standard deviation will be provided for calculation. The data collection is also used to compute population standard deviation.
  • In contrast to the formula for the sample standard deviation, which divides by n1, the formula for a population standard deviation is divided by the population size N. (the sample size minus one).


Statistics is a key subject that is covered in math classes. Even business colleges teach about these kinds of issues. They will benefit from this when starting their firm. A statistical technique is the standard deviation. Two approaches, including sample standard deviation and the more widely used standard deviation, can be used to compute this standard deviation.

There are two ways to calculate a standard deviation; choose the one that works best for you. In some cases, studying the provided data will allow you to choose the type of method you will employ. Find which approach works best for you after the data is provided by performing a quick computation in your head. to aid you in saving time. You should pick mathematics as a college-level subject if you want to study more about the subject in particular. There, more tasks involving statistics and standard deviation will be offered to you, and you can learn more about this subject. To solve the problem using these two techniques, a formula is needed.

Although a population standard deviation and a sample standard deviation both assess variability, they differ from one another. The first has to do with how statistics and parameters differ from one another. A parameter, or fixed value calculated from each member of the population, is the population standard deviation. A statistic is the sample standard deviation. This indicates that it is calculated using data from a small portion of the population. The sample standard deviation has greater fluctuation because it is dependent on the sample. As a result, the sample's standard deviation is higher than the population.



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"Difference Between Sample Standard Deviation and Population Standard Deviation." Diffzy.com, 2023. Tue. 06 Jun. 2023. <https://www.diffzy.com/article/difference-between-sample-standard-deviation-and-population-805>.

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