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Title: Trimean  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: L-estimator, Interdecile range, Exploratory data analysis, Tyranny of averages, Midhinge
Collection: Exploratory Data Analysis, Means, Robust Statistics, Summary Statistics
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia


In statistics the trimean (TM), or Tukey's trimean, is a measure of a probability distribution's location defined as a weighted average of the distribution's median and its two quartiles:

TM= \frac{Q_1 + 2Q_2 + Q_3}{4}

This is equivalent to the average of the median and the midhinge:

TM= \frac{1}{2}\left(Q_2 + \frac{Q_1 + Q_3}{2}\right)

The foundations of the trimean were part of Arthur Bowley's teachings, and later popularized by statistician John Tukey in his 1977 book[1] which has given its name to a set of techniques called Exploratory data analysis.

Like the median and the midhinge, but unlike the sample mean, it is a statistically resistant L-estimator with a breakdown point of 25%. This beneficial property has been described as follows:

An advantage of the trimean as a measure of the center (of a distribution) is that it combines the median's emphasis on center values with the midhinge's attention to the extremes.
— Herbert F. Weisberg, Central Tendency and Variability[2]


  • Efficiency 1
  • See also 2
  • References 3
  • External links 4


Despite its simplicity, the trimean is a remarkably [3] For context, the best 1 point estimate by L-estimators is the median, with an efficiency of 64% or better (for all n), while using 2 points (for a large data set of over 100 points from a symmetric population), the most efficient estimate is the 29% midsummary (mean of 29th and 71st percentiles), which has an efficiency of about 81%. Using quartiles, these optimal estimators can be approximated by the midhinge and the trimean. Using further points yield higher efficiency, though it is notable that only 3 points are needed for very high efficiency.

See also


  1. ^ Tukey, John Wilder (1977). Exploratory Data Analysis. Addison-Wesley.  
  2. ^ Weisberg, H. F. (1992). Central Tendency and Variability. Sage University. ISBN 0-8039-4007-6 (p. 39)
  3. ^ Evans 1955, Appendix G: Inefficient statistics, pp. 902–904.
  • Evans, Robley Dunglison (1955). The Atomic Nucleus. International series in pure and applied physics. McGraw-Hill. p. 972.  

External links

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