Difference Between Mathematician & Statistician

Mathematicians and statisticians can both help fix business problems, but mathematicians may also focus on theoretical research instead of practical application and they use different data. Continue reading to compare these career options further.

Comparing Mathematicians to Statisticians

Mathematicians and statisticians both work with numbers, and they are required to have the same level of educational for their professions. Both careers are experiencing very high growth rates, although mathematicians make a notably higher salary. The primary difference between them is that mathematicians may do a lot of theoretical work, while statisticians focus on using data to address business issues.

Job Title Educational Requirements Median Salary (2016)* Job Outlook (2014-2024)*
Mathematician Master's Degree $105,810 21%
Statistician Master's Degree $80,500 34%

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Responsibilities of Mathematicians vs. Statisticians

Mathematicians and statisticians can use their talents to process data and reach conclusions about how to resolve specific issues for a business. This is the primary function that statisticians serve, but mathematicians may focus on proving or disproving ideas or discovering new rules or formulas. While mathematicians focus on the principles that govern our understanding and application of mathematics, statisticians must determine what kind of information they need for the topic they're researching and then figure out how to get that information. They may do things such as creating polls and then conducting surveys. Once they have the relevant data, they review it and use it to inform their conclusions and recommendations.


Mathematicians perform extensive research related to mathematical theories. They usually need to have a master's degree in mathematics to begin their career, and a significant percentage of mathematicians work for the government. Other employers include academic institutions and companies that do scientific research. While they often work regular business hours in an office, they do occasionally travel and may also need to work extra hours when faced with a deadline.

Job responsibilities of a mathematician include:

  • Studying mathematical theories
  • Applying mathematical formulas to their research
  • Creating data analysis models
  • Presenting new mathematical principles, such as theories or formulas
  • Applying data to practical issues and identifying solutions


Most employers require statisticians to have a master's degree, although a doctoral degree may be necessary for those who want to pursue work in academic fields. Although some travel may be required, they may spend much of their time working in an office. They're problem-solvers who gather data that's used to determine how to address specific issues. Statisticians may work for the government or work in other fields, such as product development.

Job responsibilities of a statistician include:

  • Identifying focus of research
  • Implementing strategies to gather relevant data
  • Processing the data from surveys and other sources
  • Forming conclusions based on their research
  • Presenting results

Related Careers

Another career option for anyone considering a career as a mathematician is to be an actuarial analyst, since actuarial analysts process data and use the information to do things such as determine how much insurance policies should cost. The work that operations research analysts do is very similar to the role statisticians perform, since they work on solving problems for businesses using analysis.

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