The word, ‘statistics’ has been derived from the Latin word, ‘status’ which means a political state. This word also resembles with the Italian word ‘Statista’ German word ‘Statistik’ and French word ‘Satistique’ carrying the same meaning of a state. However, for the first time the word was introduced by Professor Gottfried Achenwall (1719-1772) and J.F.Von Briedfield (1770) in their famous work, “Elements of Universal Erudition.”
At the initial stage, statistics was concerned with the state affairs only, and the kings, or the rulers of the states used this as an instrument in their administration and military affairs which needed various information relation to population, revenue, and enemy’s strategy etc.
In the Plural Sense of Data
1. In the words of Webster, “Statistics are the classified facts representing the conditions of the people in a state ……… especially those facts which can be stated in numbers or in tables of numbers or in any tabular or classified arrangements.”
According to this definition, the chief characteristics of statistics are as under :
(i) Statistics are numerical facts.
(ii) The facts must have some sort of homogeneity in order that they can be classified and tabulated properly for the purpose of their analysis and interpretation.
(iii) The facts must relate to the conditions of human beings residing in a particular state.
2. In the words of A.L. Bowley, “Statistics are numerical statements of facts in any department of enquiry placed in relation to each other.”
According to this definition, the chief characteristics of statistics come out as under:
(i) It must be in the form of numerical facts.
(ii) The facts must be capable of being placed in relation to each other.
(iii) The facts may relate to any field of enquiry viz., physical, social or natural