# Geometric mean

In mathematics, the geometric mean is a mean or average, which indicates the central tendency or typical value of a set of numbers by using the product of their values (as opposed to the arithmetic mean which uses their sum). The geometric mean is defined as the nth root of the product of n numbers, i.e., for a set of numbers x1, x2, ..., xn, the geometric mean is defined as ( ∏ i = 1 n x i ) 1 n = x 1 x 2 ⋯ x n n {\displaystyle \left(\prod _{i=1}^{n}x_{i}\right)^{\frac {1}{n}}={\sqrt[{n}]{x_{1}x_{2}\cdots x_{n}}}} For instance, the geometric mean of two numbers, say 2 and 8, is just the square root of their product, that is, 2 ⋅ 8 = 4 {\displaystyle {\sqrt {2\cdot 8}}=4} . As another example, the geometric mean of the three numbers 4, 1, and 1/32 is the cube root of their product (1/8), which is 1/2, that is, 4 ⋅ 1 ⋅ 1 / 32 3 = 1 / 2 {\displaystyle {\sqrt[{3}]{4\cdot 1\cdot 1/32}}=1/2} . A geometric mean is often used when comparing different items—finding a single "figure of merit" for these items—when each item has multiple properties that have different numeric ranges. For example, the geometric mean can give a meaningful value to compare two companies which are each rated at 0 to 5 for their environmental sustainability, and are rated at 0 to 100 for their financial viability. If an arithmetic mean were used instead of a geometric mean, the financial viability would have greater weight because its numeric range is larger. That is, a small percentage change in the financial rating (e.g. going from 80 to 90) makes a much larger difference in the arithmetic mean than a large percentage change in environmental sustainability (e.g. going from 2 to 5). The use of a geometric mean normalizes the differently-ranged values, meaning a given percentage change in any of the properties has the same effect on the geometric mean. So, a 20% change in environmental sustainability from 4 to 4.8 has the same effect on the geometric mean as a 20% change in financial viability from 60 to 72. The geometric mean can be understood in terms of geometry. The geometric mean of two numbers, a {\displaystyle a} and b {\displaystyle b} , is the length of one side of a square whose area is equal to the area of a rectangle with sides of lengths a {\displaystyle a} and b {\displaystyle b} . Similarly, the geometric mean of three numbers, a {\displaystyle a} , b {\displaystyle b} , and c {\displaystyle c} , is the length of one edge of a cube whose volume is the same as that of a cuboid with sides whose lengths are equal to the three given numbers. The geometric mean applies only to positive numbers. It is also often used for a set of numbers whose values are meant to be multiplied together or are exponential in nature, such as data on the growth of the human population or interest rates of a financial investment. The geometric mean is also one of the three classical Pythagorean means, together with the aforementioned arithmetic mean and the harmonic mean. For all positive data sets containing at least one pair of unequal values, the harmonic mean is always the least of the three means, while the arithmetic mean is always the greatest of the three and the geometric mean is always in between (see Inequality of arithmetic and geometric means.)

## Words

This table shows the example usage of word lists for keywords extraction from the text above.

Word | Word Frequency | Number of Articles | Relevance |
---|---|---|---|

mean | 27 | 10017 | 0.309 |

geometric | 20 | 3043 | 0.272 |

displaystyle | 10 | 13201 | 0.109 |

arithmetic | 7 | 1443 | 0.105 |