What Is the Mode?

The mode is an average of a set of numbers.

The mode is the number that appears most often in a set of numbers.

It is possible for a set of numbers to have no mode or multiple modes.

Dictionary Definition

The Oxford English Dictionary defines the mode as "the value, or range of values, of a variable which occurs most frequently in a set of data."

Interactive Widget

Use this interactive widget to see the mean, median, and mode averages of your data set.


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Finding the Mode

Imagine we wanted to find the mode of the numbers given below:

To find the mode, find the number that appears most often.

  • 1 appears 2 times.

  • 2 appears 4 times.

  • 3 appears 1 time.

2 appears most often.

The mode is 2.

Understanding the Mode

Imagine several candidates are standing for election. The candidate with the most votes would win the election.

The winning candidate would be the mode. Their name would appear most in the ballot box.

Different Numbers of Modes

For a set of numbers, there is only one mean and one median (the other types of average).

However, there can be different numbers of modes: none, one or more than one.

  • If there are no repeated numbers in a set there is no mode. The set of numbers below has no mode:

  • If there is one number that apears more often that the others, there is one mode (this is called unimodal). The set of numbers below has one mode:

  • If there is more than one number that appear more often than the others, there is more than one mode (this is called multimodal).

    The set of numbers below has two modes (1 and 2). This is called bimodal. 1 and 2 appear more often than the other numbers but equally often as each other:

See Also

What is an average? Finding the mode Finding the mode from a frequency table