The history of statistics can be said to start around 1749 although, over time, there have been changes to the interpretation of the word statistics. In early times, the meaning was restricted to information about states. This was later extended to include all collections of information of all types, and later still it was extended to include the analysis and interpretation of such data. In modern terms, "statistics" means both sets of collected information, as in national accounts and temperature records, and analytical work which requires statistical inference.
Statistical activities are often associated with models expressed using probabilities, and require probability theory for them to be put on a firm theoretical basis: see History of probability.
A number of statistical concepts have had an important impact on a wide range of sciences. These include the design of experiments and approaches to statistical inference such as Bayesian inference, each of which can be considered to have their own sequence in the development of the ideas underlying modern statistics.
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“The history of all previous societies has been the history of class struggles.”
—Karl Marx (18181883)
“... in America ... children are instructed in the virtues of the system they live under, as though history had achieved a happy ending in American civics.”
—Mary McCarthy (19121989)
“Maybe a nation that consumes as much booze and dope as we do and has our kind of divorce statistics should pipe down about character issues. Either that or just go ahead and determine the presidency with three-legged races and pie-eating contests. It would make better TV.”
—P.J. (Patrick Jake)