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  • Statistics shows that people are having fewer children these days!
  • Statistics show that people are having fewer children these days!

Which one is grammatical?

  • Both are correct. Depends on context and the author's intent. – Kris Mar 13 '14 at 7:08
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    Please include the research you’ve done. Questions that can be answered using commonly-available references are off-topic. – Edwin Ashworth Jul 8 '18 at 1:01
  • The poster asked this question more than four years ago, and people have viewed it 48,812 times (at this writing). Can't we just let it live in peace on our site? At the very least, it's presence on English Language & Usage gives us something to point to as a duplicate when a newcomer asks the same question. – Sven Yargs Jul 9 '18 at 0:35
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When considering the 'discipline of statistics' as a field of study or body of knowledge, it is singular:

Statistics shows that people are having fewer children these days!

When considering the figures from statistical data, as is often the case in comparative analysis, the figures themselves may be regarded as 'statistics', hence plural:

Statistics show that people are having fewer children these days!

Both are correct. It depends on the context and the author's intent.

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    I do not see the first version as correct. You could have "Statistics shows how to handle data systematically", but the academic study of statistics does not show how fertile people are over time; only the numbers show that. – Henry Mar 13 '14 at 8:18
  • @Henry "It depends on the context and the author's intent." Syntax vs. semantics! :) The OP asked Which one is grammatical? Both are. – Kris Mar 14 '14 at 6:19
  • @Kris But in this context, "statistics" unambiguously refers to the numbers themselves, not the academic study in general. – Nuclear Wang Jan 24 '17 at 11:17
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The word statistics is used both as singular and as plural.

  • The singular statistics is the science of collection, presentation, analysis and interpretation of numerical data.
  • The plural statistics refers to numerical facts or observations collected with a definite purpose. Statistics in this sense have the following characteristics:
    1. Statistics are a sum total of observations.
    2. Statistics are expressed quantitatively and not qualitatively.
    3. Statistics are collected with a definite purpose.
    4. Statistics in an experiment are comparable and can be classified into various groups.

protected by NVZ Jan 24 '17 at 13:56

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