Find the most frequent number in a group of numbers

Let's say you want to find out the most common number of bird species sighted in a sample of bird counts at a critical wetland over a 30-year time period, or you want to find out the most frequently occurring number of phone calls at a telephone support center during off-peak hours. To calculate the mode of a group of numbers, use the MODE function.

The MODE function measures central tendency, which is the location of the center of a group of numbers in a statistical distribution. The three most common measures of central tendency are:

  • Average     which is the arithmetic mean, and is calculated by adding a group of numbers and then dividing by the count of those numbers. For example, the average of 2, 3, 3, 5, 7, and 10 is 30 divided by 6, which is 5.

  • Median     which is the middle number of a group of numbers; that is, half the numbers have values that are greater than the median, and half the numbers have values that are less than the median. For example, the median of 2, 3, 3, 5, 7, and 10 is 4.

  • Mode     which is the most frequently occurring number in a group of numbers. For example, the mode of 2, 3, 3, 5, 7, and 10 is 3, because 3 occurs twice.

For a symmetrical distribution of a group of numbers, these three measures of central tendency are all the same. For a skewed distribution of a group of numbers, they can be different.

Example

The example may be easier to understand if you copy it to a blank worksheet.

How to copy an example

  1. Create a blank workbook or worksheet.

  2. Select the example in the Help topic.

    Note   Do not select the row or column headers.

    Selecting an example from Help
    Selecting an example from Help
  3. Press CTRL+C.

  4. In the worksheet, select cell A1, and press CTRL+V.

  5. To switch between viewing the results and viewing the formulas that return the results, press CTRL+` (grave accent), or on the Formulas tab, in the Formula Auditing group, click the Show Formulas button.

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2

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A

Data

10

7

9

7

0

4

Formula

Description (Result)

=MODE(A2:A7)

Mode of numbers in list above (7)

Syntax for the MODE function

MODE(number1,number2,...)

For more information, see MODE function.

Applies To: Excel 2007



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