Arithmetic mean
Overview

In mathematics
Mathematics
Mathematics is the study of quantity, space, structure, and change. Mathematicians seek out patterns and formulate new conjectures. Mathematicians resolve the truth or falsity of conjectures by mathematical proofs, which are arguments sufficient to convince other mathematicians of their validity...

and statistics
Statistics
Statistics is the study of the collection, organization, analysis, and interpretation of data. It deals with all aspects of this, including the planning of data collection in terms of the design of surveys and experiments....

, the arithmetic mean, often referred to as simply the mean or average when the context is clear, is a method to derive the central tendency of a sample space. The term "arithmetic mean" is preferred in mathematics and statistics because it helps distinguish it from other mean
Average
In mathematics, an average, or central tendency of a data set is a measure of the "middle" value of the data set. Average is one form of central tendency. Not all central tendencies should be considered definitions of average....

s such as the geometric
Geometric mean
The geometric mean, in mathematics, is a type of mean or average, which indicates the central tendency or typical value of a set of numbers. It is similar to the arithmetic mean, except that the numbers are multiplied and then the nth root of the resulting product is taken.For instance, the...

and harmonic mean
Harmonic mean
In mathematics, the harmonic mean is one of several kinds of average. Typically, it is appropriate for situations when the average of rates is desired....

.

In addition to mathematics and statistics, the arithmetic mean is used frequently in fields such as economics
Economics
Economics is the social science that analyzes the production, distribution, and consumption of goods and services. The term economics comes from the Ancient Greek from + , hence "rules of the house"...

, sociology
Sociology
Sociology is the study of society. It is a social science—a term with which it is sometimes synonymous—which uses various methods of empirical investigation and critical analysis to develop a body of knowledge about human social activity...

, and history
History
History is the discovery, collection, organization, and presentation of information about past events. History can also mean the period of time after writing was invented. Scholars who write about history are called historians...

, though it is used in almost every academic field to some extent.