This page shows an example of getting descriptive statistics using the **
summarize** command with footnotes explaining the
output. In the first example, we get the descriptive statistics for a 0/1
(dummy) variable called **female**. This variable is coded 1 if the
student was female, and 0 otherwise. In the second example, we get the
descriptive statistics for a continuous variable called **write**, which was
the score students received on a writing test. We use the **detail**
option to get additional information, including percentiles, skewness and
kurtosis. You do not have to use the **detail** option with all
continuous variables.

use http://www.ats.ucla.edu/stat/stata/notes/hsb2(highschool and beyond (200 cases))

summarize female

Variable| Obs^{a}Mean^{b}Std. Dev.^{c}Min^{d}Max^{e}-------------+-------------------------------------------------------- female | 200 .545 .4992205 0 1^{f}

a. **Variable** – This column indicates which variable is being
described. You can list more than one variable after the summarize
command; when you do, you will see each variable on its own line of the output.

b. **Obs** – This column tells you the number of observations (or
cases) that were valid (i.e., not missing) for that variable. If you had
200 observations in your data set, but you had 10 missing values for the
variable **female,** then the number in this column would be 190.

c. **Mean** – This is the mean of the variable. In this case,
our variable **female** ranges from 0 to 1 (the min and max values), so the mean is
actually the proportion of observations coded as 1.

d. **Std. Dev.** – This is the standard deviation of the
variable. This gives information regarding the spread of the distribution
of the variable.

summarize write, detail

writing score ------------------------------------------------------------- Percentiles Smallest1%^{i}31 31 5% 35.5 31 10% 39 31 Obs^{e}200 25%^{b}45.5 31 Sum of Wgt.^{f}^{k }200

50%54 Mean^{g}52.775 Largest^{c}^{j }Std. Dev.^{d}^{ }9.478586 75%60 67 90% 65 67 Variance^{h}89.84359 95% 65 67 Skewness^{l}-.4784158 99% 67 67 Kurtosis^{m}^{n }2.238527

e. **1%** – This is the first percentile. Percentiles are
calculated by ordering the values of a variable from lowest to highest, and then
finding the value that corresponds to whatever percent you are interested in, in
this case, 1%. Hence, 1% of the values of the variable **write** are
equal to or less than 31.

f. **25%** – This is the 25th percentile, also known as the
first quartile.

g. **50%** – This is the 50th percentile, also known as the
median. If you order the values of the variable from lowest to highest,
the median would be the value exactly in the middle. In other words, half
of the values would be below the median, and half would be above. This is
a good measure of central tendency if the variable has outliers.

h. **75%** – This is the 75th percentile, also known as the
third quartile.

i. **Smallest** – This is a list of the four smallest values of
the variable. In this example, the four smallest values are all 31.

j. **Largest** – This is a list of the four largest values of
the variable. In this example, the four largest values are all 67.

b. **Obs** – This column tells you the number of observations (or
cases) that were valid (i.e., not missing) for that variable. If you had
200 observations in your data set, but you had 10 missing values for the
variable **female,** then the number in this column would be 190.

k. **Sum of Wgt**. – This is the sum of the weights. In
Stata, you can use different kinds of weights on your data. By default,
each case (i.e., subject) is given a weight of 1. When this default is
used, the sum of the weights will equal the number of observations.

c. **Mean** – This is the arithmetic mean across the observations.
It is the most widely used measure of central tendency. It is commonly called
the average. The mean is sensitive to extremely large or small values.

d. **Std. Dev.** – This is the standard deviation of the
variable. This gives information regarding the spread of the distribution
of the variable.

l. **Variance** – This is the standard deviation squared (i.e.,
raised to the second power). It is also a measure of spread of the
distribution.

m. **Skewness** – Skewness measures the degree and direction of
asymmetry. A symmetric distribution such as a normal distribution has a
skewness of 0, and a distribution that is skewed to the left, e.g., when the
mean is less than the median, has a negative skewness.

n. **Kurtosis** – Kurtosis is a measure of the heaviness of the
tails of a distribution. A normal distribution has a kurtosis of 3. Heavy tailed
distributions will have kurtosis greater than 3 and light tailed distributions
will have
kurtosis less than 3.