In ordinary language, an average is a single number or value that best represents a set of data. The type of average taken as most typically representative of a list of numbers is the arithmetic mean – the sum of the numbers divided by how many numbers are in the list. For example, the mean average of the numbers 2, 3, 4, 7, and 9 (summing to 25) is 5. Depending on the context, the most representative statistic to be taken as the average might be another measure of central tendency, such as the mid-range, median, mode or geometric mean. For example, the average personal income is often given as the median – the number below which are 50% of personal incomes and above which are 50% of personal incomes – because the mean would be higher by including personal incomes from a few billionaires. For this reason, it is recommended to avoid using the word "average" when discussing measures of central tendency and specify which type of measure of average is being used.

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