Facts vs. Statistics



Facts are statements from reliable sources about real things.

Example: Your topic sentence claims that cheetahs are the fastest animals on land.

Fact: Cheetahs have a sprinting speed of up to 71 mph.

Fact: Loose hip and shoulder joints help the cheetah extend its reach while running, enabling short bursts of high speed.

Statistics are facts expressed in numbers. There are many other ways to express facts.

Example: Your topic sentence claims that the Chinese are big users of the Internet.

Statistic: A study in 2010 counted Chinese users at over 440 million, second only to English users who number about 537 million.

This is a fact. It is also a statistic.

In order to identify a fact, you must first determine if a source is credible.

Preview this site to determine the criteria of a credible source.

Still confused? Here's a few more definitions.

  • A statistic is a number or a fraction or any form of numerical data, such as the population of a city, the number of people in a building...things like that.
  • A fact is an accepted theory or idea that can be proven, such as the sky is blue, the grass is green.

Example: The population of Maple Town is 65,906 people. (Statistic) The population last year was 64,898. (Statistic) The population has increased since last year. (Fact)

Another definition:

  • A fact is a piece of information used as evidence.
  • A statistic is a fact or piece of data from a study of a large quantity of numerical data.

Another definition:

  • A fact is something that has actual existence: a matter of objective reality.
  • A statistic is a quantity (such as the mean of a sample) that is computed from a sample.