Categorical Variable

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Definition: Categorical Variable

The variables which assume different values from a fixed and finite set of data are known as Categorical Variables. A variable which takes only one of the two values if known as Binary Variable. Categorical variables are commonly known as ‘enum’ (enumeration) data types in computer language.


Sex: {Male, Female}

Here ‘Sex’ is a categorical variable assuming values from a fixed set of data.


Types of Categorical Variable:

-          Nominal Variable: These variables assume the discrete values which are not ordered or related to each other.

Example: Color of hair: {Black, Brown, Grey, White}

-         Ordinal Variable: It takes values of variables which have a pre-defined order or sequence.

Example: Movie Rating: {Bad, Average, Good, Very Good, Excellent}

-          Interval Variable: These are used when the category has to assume a range of values. Also, the intervals between the values have to be same, in order to be categorized as Interval variable.


Salary Bracket: {0-2 lacs, 2-5 lacs, 5 lacs and above)           Not an Interval Variable

Salary Bracket: {0-2, 2-4, 4-6, 6-8}                                              Interval Variable

Hence, this concludes the definition of Categorical Variable along with its overview.


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