How to Calculate the Cumulative Frequency

Written by carter mcbride
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How to Calculate the Cumulative Frequency
Use cumulative frequency to determine sample sizes. (calculating image by timur1970 from

Frequency is how many times something happens at a given point. The cumulative frequency is the number of times something happens at multiple given points. For example, if a teacher grades a test, and five students get in between 71 and 80, five is the frequency. If on the same test, six students score between a 81 and 90, the cumulative frequency from 71 to 90 is 11. This is an important basic statistic to help in more complex statistical calculations, such as mean.

Skill level:


  1. 1

    Write out your data, separating the data into data sets. For example, a day care centre has 11 students ages 1 to 5; 14 students ages 6 to 10; and seven students ages 11 to 15. Written out in a table form:

    Ages / Frequency

    1-5 / 11

    6-10 / 14

    11-15 / 7

  2. 2

    Add the frequency of the first data set to the second data set. In the example, 11 plus 14 equals a cumulative frequency of 25 for ages 1 to 10.

  3. 3

    Repeat adding together the next frequency until you add together all the frequencies of your data sets. In the example, the frequency for ages 1 to 15 would be 32.

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