population mean

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The average value of some variable that is measured for all members of a (possibly infinite) population. If the value of the variable for a randomly chosen member of the population is denoted by X, then the population mean is the expectation of X and is usually denoted by μ (the notation μ was introduced in 1936 by Sir Ronald Fisher in the sixth edition of his Statistical Methods for Research Workers). Similarly, the population variance, usually denoted by σ2, is the mean of the squared differences between the values of the members of the population and the population mean: this is the expectation of (Xμ)2.

Subjects: Probability and Statistics.

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