 # What Is the Weighted Average?

By Charles Joseph | Editor, Financial Affairs
Reviewed by Corey Michael | Senior Financial Analyst

The weighted average is a calculation that takes into account the varying degrees of importance of the numbers in a data set. In a weighted average, each number in the data set is multiplied by a predetermined weight before the final calculation is made. The result is a single average value that can be used for comparisons and statistical purposes.

## Related Questions

1. What is the difference between a simple average and a weighted average?

In a simple average, each number in the data set is given the same importance or weight. In a weighted average, certain numbers are given more importance or weight depending on their significance in the data set.

2. When would you use a weighted average?

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Weighted averages are often used when the numbers in a data set have different levels of importance. For example, in calculating a grade point average (GPA), a 4-credit class typically has more weight than a 1-credit class.

3. How do you calculate a weighted average?

To calculate a weighted average, you multiply each number in the data set by its assigned weight, then sum these values. The final step is to divide the sum by the total of the weights.

4. Can weights in a weighted average be negative?

Typically, weights in a weighted average are non-negative. Including negative weights could lead to a situation where the ‘average’ is not representative of the data.

5. Can a weighted average be higher than the highest number in a set or lower than the lowest number in a set?

By definition, a weighted average cannot be higher than the highest number in a data set or lower than the lowest number in a set. It’s a measure of central tendency and will fall somewhere within the range of numbers in the data set.