# Handbook of Descriptive Statistics/Measures of Statistical Variability/Range

## Description

• The range is the difference between the highest and lowest values of a variable. In some contexts, it is a single value obtained by subtracting the lowest (minimum) from the highest (maximum) value. In other contexts, the minimum and maximum are both presented and the range is a pair of values. For example, if the data include values from 10 through 42, the range may be expressed as either 32 (42-10) or the pair (10,42).

## Usages

• The range is a marker of the spread or variability of a variable.
• The range is often a very unstable marker of variability because it can be highly influenced by a single outlier value. For instance, if the data contain the ages of many high school students all with values between 13 and 19 except for a single (perhaps erroneous) value of 93, the range is 80 rather than a more representative value of about 6.

## Distributions

• The range is calculable for any distribution measured on at least an ordinal scale.

## Software

The range is usually presented along with other common descriptors by most commercial statistical software.

• Stata: summarize varname
• Excel: If the data are entered into cells B5 through B50, the range will be returned by the formula: ${\displaystyle =maximum(B5:B50)-minimum(B5:B50))}$