What Is the Difference Between Discrete and Continuous Data?

By Staff WriterLast Updated Apr 5, 2020 9:38:23 PM ET

Discrete data refers to specific and distinct values, while continuous data are values within a bounded or boundless interval. Discrete data and continuous data are the two types of numerical data used in the field of statistics.


Data is generally classified into two categories: descriptive and numerical. Descriptive data, also called qualitative or categorical data, are represented by words that characterize a set of values while numerical data, known as quantitative data, are denoted by numbers. In discrete data, the number of possible values is countable, while continuous data is measurable and can take on infinite values. Some examples of discrete data include shoe size, set of natural numbers and number of siblings. Distance, set of real numbers and mass are some common examples of continuous data.