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A discrete variable is a variable which is not continuous.


Number of Children

The number $N$ of children in any given family can take one of the values in the set $\N = \set {0, 1, 2, \ldots}$

However, $N$ cannot take the value of a number which is not a natural number, for example, $2 \cdotp 5$ or $3 \cdotp 842$.

That is, $N$ is a discrete variable.

Also see

Linguistic Note

Be careful with the word discrete.

A common homophone horror is to use the word discreet instead.

However, discreet means cautious or tactful, and describes somebody who is able to keep silent for political or delicate social reasons.