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Which way to calculate mean is correct?

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aaron Harvey
aaron Harvey on 9 Mar 2016
Closed: MATLAB Answer Bot on 20 Aug 2021
its late and my head hurts, and im sure ill kick myself in the morning for asking this. Say i have the following data:
counts area density
10 5 2
12 3 4
where 'counts' and 'area' are measured and are the two rows are valid replicates. density=counts/area
is the best single measure of density the mean of 2 and 4 , or does it make sense to calculate a total area 8 and a total counts 22 for a density of 22/8???

Answers (1)

Walter Roberson
Walter Roberson on 9 Mar 2016
Or even sum(counts .* area) ./ sum(counts)
It depends on what is being represented. If it is a histogram type count, 10 occurrences of area 5, then you need to do the calculation the way I show above. But for some other things, sum(counts) / sum(area) would be appropriate. The mean of the densities is not likely to be correct.

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