The median is a commonly used measure of the properties of a data set in statistics and probability theory. The basic advantage of the median in describing data compared to the mean (often simply described as the "average") is that it is not skewed so much by extremely large or small values, and so it may give a better idea of a "typical" value. For example, in understanding statistics like household income or assets which vary greatly, a mean may be skewed by a small number of extremely high or low values. Median income, for example, may be a better way to suggest what a "typical" income is.
Because of this, the median is of central importance in robust statistics, as it is the most resistant statistic, having a breakdown point of 50%: so long as no more than half the data are contaminated, the median will not give an arbitrarily large or small result.
The median of a finite list of numbers can be found by arranging all the numbers from smallest to greatest.
If there is an odd number of numbers, the middle one is picked. For example, consider the list of numbers
This list contains seven numbers. The median is the fourth of them, which is 6.