Categorical Variable

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"A variable that gives the appropriate label of an observation after allocation to one of several possible categories, for example, marital status: married, single or divorce, or blood group: A, B, AB or O. The categories are often given numerical labels but for this type of data these have no numerical significance."[1]

Also known as

  • Discrete variable (although this can also refer to an integer variable)
  • Qualitative variable
  • Nominal variable



  1. B. S. Everitt (2002): The Cambridge Dictionary of Statistics, Second Edition, Cambridge.