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In finance, “Quartile” is a statistical term describing a division of observations into four defined intervals based upon the values of the data and how they compare to the entire set of observations. It is a type of quantile which divides the number of data points into four more or less equal parts, or quarters. First quartile (Q1), is the “middle” value in the first half, the second quartile (Q2 or median), is the middle value of the whole dataset while third quartile (Q3), is the “middle” value in the second half of the rank-ordered data set.


The phonetic spelling of “Quartile” is: /ˈkwɔːr.taɪl/

Key Takeaways

  1. A Quartile is a type of quantile which divides the number of data points into four more or less equal parts, or quarters. The first quartile (Q1) cuts off roughly 25% of the lowest data, the second quartile (Q2) cuts off roughly 50% (median) and the third quartile (Q3) cuts off roughly 75%.
  2. Quartiles are used in descriptive statistics to provide a rough sense of a distribution’s central tendency, variability, and shape. They are also used to determine outliers and to understand and interpret statistical data extensively.
  3. One significant advantage of quartiles in statistics is that they can be used for data from any distribution, which does not rely on any assumptions about the distribution. This makes them more versatile compared to some other measures.


In business and finance, the term “quartile” is important as it provides a statistical measure of dispersion and offers a clearer understanding of how data is distributed. Quartiles divide a dataset into four equal parts or quarters, namely the lower quartile (Q1), middle quartile (Q2 or median), and upper quartile (Q3). They can help businesses understand the spread and center of their data, identify outliers, and interpret the overall variability of the dataset. By determining quartiles, businesses can make accurate predictions, informed decisions, and implement appropriate strategies. This analytical tool is particularly useful in areas like financial analysis, risk management, and investment planning.


Quartiles in finance and business are a significant analytical tool used to determine the dispersion pattern or distribution of a particular set of data. With its key purpose being the separation of a dataset into four equal parts or quartiles, it provides a clear assessment of the spread and central tendency of the data. Each quartile represents 25% of the data, making it simpler to compare different sections of the data set to each other. For instance, analysts use quartiles in sector performances, economic data, investment fund performances, and more to pinpoint how one data subset compares to the entire dataset. For company performance, quartiles aid in identifying how an entity performs against other industry players. Additionally, in investment management, quartiles can help gauge the performance of an investment fund by positioning it within the top, middle, or lower quartile. This can help prospective investors make their investment choices. Thus, the use of quartiles extends to multiple aspects of finance and business, providing a precise and substantial evaluation instrument.


1. Salary Ranges: Companies often use quartile systems to set salaries and wage percentages. They classify salary ranges into four quartiles: the first quartile (25th percentile) signifies the lower range, the second quartile (50th percentile or median) indicates the middle range, the third quartile (75th percentile) represents the upper-middle wage, and the fourth quartile denotes the highest wage. The different quartiles can illustrate wage disparities and provide a basis for salary adjustments or wage negotiations. 2. Investment Performance: Mutual funds, stocks, or other asset performance can also be categorized into quartiles. These quartiles enable investors to compare how investments perform against others in the same sector. For instance, a mutual fund in the top quartile (Q1) outperforms 75% of the funds in the same category, signifying that it’s one of the best performers. Conversely, a mutual fund in the fourth quartile (Q4) is among the lowest performers, underperforming 75% of the funds in that category. 3. Real Estate Prices: In the real estate industry, Quartiles can also be used to segment property values. For example, the first quartile may include homes priced below the 25th percentile, indicating they are cheaper than 75% of homes. On the contrary, homes in the fourth quartile exceed 75% of home prices, implying they belong to the luxury market. Prioritizing houses within a specific quartile might be determined by a homebuyer’s budget and preferences.

Frequently Asked Questions(FAQ)

What is Quartile in finance?
A Quartile in finance and statistics refers to a type of quantile which divides the number of data points into four more or less equal parts, or quarters. Quartiles are often used in financial studies and financial modelling to provide a relative ranking of a particular data set.
How are quartiles used in finance and business?
Quartiles are a crucial tool in finance and business. They are often used to provide a meaningful perspective regarding the dispersion of a set of numbers. Financial analysts use them to understand the dispersion of returns of different assets or portfolio. It is also used in real estate market analyses, investment performance evaluation, and risk assessments.
How are quartiles computed?
The first quartile (
Are quartiles always equally distributed?
No, quartiles do not ensure that the data points within each quartile hold the same number. Although the quartile places data points into approximate quarters, the exact distribution inside each quartile can still vary depending on the nature of the data set.
Can quartiles be used for any type of data?
Quartiles, like other measures of data, are usually best suited for numerical data sets. While you could create quartiles for categorical data, it would not yield meaningful or useful results in most cases.
What is an Interquartile Range?
The interquartile range (IQR) is a measure of statistical dispersion or spread in a data set. It is calculated by subtracting the first quartile (
How do quartiles differ from percentiles and deciles?
All three types of measures divide a data set into different parts. Quartiles split it into four parts, percentiles into one hundred, and deciles into ten. Although they are calculated in similar ways, they are used to provide different degrees of insight into the spread and skewness of the data set.

Related Finance Terms

  • Percentile
  • Interquartile Range
  • Median
  • Box-and-Whisker Plot
  • Distribution Curve

Sources for More Information

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