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Number or numbers occurring the most often.

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Fractional Children?

Credit: Soledad Martinez
Source: http://www.publicdomainpictures.net/view-image.php?image=23173
License: CC BY-NC 3.0

The average American woman has 2.06 children. But who's ever heard of .06 of a baby? If we want to better understand what a typical American family is like, we might need to consider a different measurement.

Modes of Living

Instead of using the mean number of children to learn about American families, we can turn to the mode. The mode is the most common number of children. It gives us a clearer picture of American families. Most American women, 74% of them, have at least one child. The other 26% have no children at all. 25% of women have two children, which is the mode, or the most common number of children for an American woman to have. 15% of women have one child, and 15% have three children. The remaining women have four or more children. So, instead of dealing with fractional children, the mode allows us to see that the most common number of children in America is two.

Credit: Steven Terrebonne
Source: CK-12 Foundation
License: CC BY-NC 3.0

A 2013 Gallup poll asking American adults about their ideal family size found that two children is the most popular answer. Three children is the next most common answer, followed by four. Surprisingly, less than 5% of Americans view having only one child as ideal. So, the next time you read about the average American, look for more data. The mode may paint a clearer picture.

See for yourself: http://www.gallup.com/poll/164618/desire-children-norm.aspx

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    Image Attributions

    1. [1]^ Credit: Soledad Martinez; Source: http://www.publicdomainpictures.net/view-image.php?image=23173; License: CC BY-NC 3.0
    2. [2]^ Credit: Steven Terrebonne; Source: CK-12 Foundation; License: CC BY-NC 3.0

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