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Attribute data refers to categories or counts that can only be described in whole numbers; i.e. you can’t have half a defect or half a customer. This type of data is the opposite of continuous or variable data (temperature, weight, distance, etc.).

Typical Attribute Data refers to the number of defects, number passed vs. number failed as well as the counts of different categories; i.e. number blue, number red, number yellow, etc. Attribute data can be represented in percentages and ratios such as 2.1 guests per hotel room or a 75% occupancy rate, but the source unit, the guest, can still not be truly divided.

For a better understanding of Attribute Data (aka Discrete Data) and an overview of Lean Six Sigma, check out our Free Lean Six Sigma Yellow Belt Training, Green Belt Training or Lean Training.

Elisabeth Swan

Elisabeth is a Managing Partner at, the co-author of The Problem-Solver’s Toolkit and co-host of the Just-in-Time Cafe. For over 25 years, she's helped leading organizations like Amazon, Charles Schwab and Starwood Hotels & Resorts build problem-solving muscles with Lean Six Sigma to achieve their goals.