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Estimating Quantiles in Python

Christian Lorentzen digs into quantile calculation:

Applied statistics is dominated by the ubiquitous mean. For a change, this post is dedicated to quantiles. I will give my best to provide a good mix of theory and practical examples.

While the mean describes only the central tendency of a distribution or random sample, quantiles are able to describe the whole distribution. They appear in box-plots, in childrens’ weight-for-age curves, in salary survey results, in risk measures like the value-at-risk in the EU-wide solvency II framework for insurance companies, in quality control and in many more fields.

There are easy functions to calculate quantiles in R and Python; this post serves as a way of understanding the variety of quantile functions available and how they can affect results with small sample sizes.