The data values in a data distribution is generally spread over a range of values. The central tendency of the data set when measured helps us to understand the central behavior of data values.

Statisticians are interested in knowing the average of data values, how the data values are positioned in the data set and the most typical data value of the observations. The three types of central tendency define these characteristics and thus lead to the methods of determining them.

A measure of central tendency of a data distribution is a number which convey an idea of centarlness of the data set. The centralness may refer to the average of all values, the middle value when the data values are ordered or the most typical or the most occurring value in the data set. Three measures of central tendency, the mean, median and mode of a data set are defined to measure these three central behaviors of the data set.