I'm looking for a word that describes a misleading numerical indicator, one that does not give the entire picture or truth, or one that distracts from the issue.
For example, measurements of average salary are misleading because they can be skewed by few high-income earners.
The word "skew" is not appropriate, because it is specifically about a statistical distribution that changes its shape. I'm looking for something more general, that can be used in sentences like:
The X that is average salary
Average salary is (a) X
Maybe something like "red herring" but for numbers?
Less commonly used words or semi-archaic words are acceptable.