Categorical Data: Definition, Analysis & Examples

An error occurred trying to load this video.

Try refreshing the page, or contact customer support.

You're on a roll. Keep up the good work!

Take Quiz Watch Next Lesson
Your next lesson will play in 10 seconds
  • 0:01 Data Explained
  • 0:37 What Is Categorical Data?
  • 1:44 Identifying Categorical Data
  • 3:28 Lesson Summary
Create an account to start this course today
Try it free for 5 days!
Create An Account

Recommended Lessons and Courses for You

Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Cathryn Jackson

Cat has taught a variety of subjects primarily in Communication, Mathematics, and Technology. Cat has a Master's degree in Education and is currently working on her Ph. D.

Categorical data is often used in mathematical and scientific data collection. In this lesson, you will learn the definition of categorical data and analyze examples. When you've finished, review what you've learned with a short quiz.

Data Explained

Data, in mathematical and scientific speak, is a group of information collected. This information could be anything and can be used to prove or disprove a hypothesis (or scientific guess) during an experiment. Data that can be collected can be height, weight, a person's opinion on a political issue, the number of people that catch a certain cold over a year and so much more. Data is usually grouped into two different types of information: categorical and numerical. In this lesson, we'll talk about categorical data.

What Is Categorical Data?

All data collected is collected in the form of numbers, but we don't often know what those numbers mean. Categorical data puts a meaning to those numbers. If I gave you the numbers 4, 10 and 12, you wouldn't know what to do with them or what they mean. However, if I said there are 4 blondes in a class, 10 redheads and 12 brunettes, you would have a better understanding of what those numbers mean. That's because I grouped those numbers into categories. Let's review what to look for when identifying categorical data.

Categorical data, as the name implies, is grouped into some sort of category or multiple categories. For example, if I were to collect information about a person's pet preferences, I would have to group that information by the type of pet. Categorical data is also data that is collected in an either/or or yes/no fashion. For example, if I were to ask the people in my office to check 'yes' or 'no' on whether they had children, then I can display that information in a bar graph or a pie chart comparing co-workers that had children versus co-workers that do not have children.

Identifying Categorical Data

Look at this example. Can you identify the categorical data?

Jill is collecting information about her restaurant's pizza sales. On the left, she has created a chart showing the number of pizzas sold, divided by the type of pizza. On the right, she has the amount of money made from the pizza sales that month. Which information is categorical data? How did you do? In this example, the categorical data is the number of pizzas sold, grouped by types.

Let's try another one. Can you identify the categorical data in the following example?

Michael is collecting information about television programming. He sent out a survey asking the following questions:

To unlock this lesson you must be a Study.com Member.
Create your account

Register for a free trial

Are you a student or a teacher?
I am a teacher
What is your educational goal?

Unlock Your Education

See for yourself why 10 million people use Study.com

Become a Study.com member and start learning now.
Become a Member  Back

Earning College Credit

Did you know… We have over 49 college courses that prepare you to earn credit by exam that is accepted by over 2,000 colleges and universities. You can test out of the first two years of college and save thousands off your degree. Anyone can earn credit-by-exam regardless of age or education level.

To learn more, visit our Earning Credit Page

Transferring credit to the school of your choice

Not sure what college you want to attend yet? Study.com has thousands of articles about every imaginable degree, area of study and career path that can help you find the school that's right for you.

Click "next lesson" whenever you finish a lesson and quiz. Got It
You now have full access to our lessons and courses. Watch the lesson now or keep exploring. Got It
You're 25% of the way through this course! Keep going at this rate,and you'll be done before you know it.
The first step is always the hardest! Congrats on finishing your first lesson. Go to Next Lesson Take Quiz
Way to go! If you watch at least 30 minutes of lessons each day you'll master your goals before you know it. Go to Next Lesson Take Quiz
Congratulations on earning a badge for watching 10 videos but you've only scratched the surface. Keep it up! Go to Next Lesson Take Quiz
You've just watched 20 videos and earned a badge for your accomplishment! Go to Next Lesson Take Quiz
You've just earned a badge for watching 50 different lessons. Keep it up, you're making great progress! Go to Next Lesson Take Quiz
You just watched your 100th video lesson. You have earned a badge for this achievement! Go to Next Lesson Take Quiz
Congratulations! You just finished watching your 200th lesson and earned a badge! Go to Next Lesson Take Quiz
Congratulations! You just finished watching your 300th lesson and earned a badge! Go to Next Lesson Take Quiz
You are a superstar! You have earned the prestigious 500 video lessons watched badge. Go to Next Lesson Take Quiz
Incredible. You have just entered the exclusive club and earned the 1000 videos watched badge. Go to Next Lesson Take Quiz
You have earned a badge for watching 20 minutes of lessons.
You have earned a badge for watching 50 minutes of lessons.
You have earned a badge for watching 100 minutes of lessons.
You have earned a badge for watching 250 minutes of lessons.
You have earned a badge for watching 500 minutes of lessons.
You have earned a badge for watching 1000 minutes of lessons.