in which each quantity
to be averaged is assigned a weight
These weights determine the relative importance of each quantity on the average. Weights are the equivalent of having that many like items with the same value involved in the average.
One application for a weighted average is if you have to average a large
number of items which have relatively few different values, and you are
given a distribution of the values, which might look like the following:
These are the values of letter tiles in Scrabble. To average these
values, do a weighted average using the number of occurrences of each value
as the weight.
To calculate a weighted average:
- Multiply each value by its weight.
- Add up the products of value times weight to get the total value.
- Add the weights themselves to get the total weight.
- Divide the total value by the total weight.
For the data
above, you'd multiply and get products of 20, 16, 5, 40, 24,
14, 68, and 0, and add these to get a total value of 187. Then you'd add
the weights to get 100, and divide to get the average value of a Scrabble
tile, 1.87 points.
Note that the normal average, or arithmetic mean, is equivalent to a
weighted average in which all the weights are 1.