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The range is the most basic measure of the spread of a set of data. It is computed by taking the difference of the maximum and minimum value in the set of data.

Other than expressing the range as the difference between the maximum and minimum value, people may find it useful to illustrate the range by indicating its minimum and maximum value, for example:

The unemployment rate ranged from 2.1% to 2.3% in 2010. The median gross monthly income ranged from $1,200 for those with no formal qualification/lower primary qualifications to $5,417 for degree holders

**How to calculate the range for a set of data?**

Step 1: Identify the maximum and minimum value in the set of data

Step 2: Compute the range by taking the difference between the maximum and minimum value, i.e.

Suppose there are 10 workers in company X, and their income levels are as follows:

$2,000; $3,000; $4,000; $5,000; $6,000; $7,000; $8,000; $9,000; $10,000; $11,000

The lowest income level for these 10 workers is $2,000, while the highest income level is $11,000.

Hence the income range for workers in company X = $11,000 – $2,000 = $9,000

Suppose we want to compare the range in the quarterly seasonally adjusted overall unemployment rate in 2009 with that in 2010.

For 2009, the highest unemployment rate was 3.3% (September 2009) while the lowest unemployment rate was 2.3% (December 2009).

Range of unemployment rate in 2009 = (3.3 – 2.3)%-Point = 1.0%-Point

For 2010, the highest unemployment rate was 2.3% (March 2010) while the lowest unemployment rate was 2.1% (September 2010).

Range of unemployment rate in 2010 = (2.3 – 2.1)%-Point = 0.2%-Point

Hence, we can see that the range of the overall unemployment rate was markedly wider in 2009 than in 2010.

Note: The seasonally adjusted unemployment figures are subject to annual revisions when the latest set of seasonal factors is updated, taking into account observations for the latest available year. The most up-to-date data can be accessed here.