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Index Quantity: Which means, Traits, Makes use of and Limitations

We’re part of a fast-paced economic system. Quite a few modifications within the measurement of the inhabitants, output, cash provide, revenue, and worth of commodities are happening constantly in an ever-changing atmosphere. Financial modifications have their results on the amount of financial exercise, revenue and employment, common worth degree, and different elements. Most individuals are inquisitive about studying how a lot their values have modified over time and the way they’ve modified, and most values evolve. The index quantity helps in finding out modifications in consumption, manufacturing, imports, exports, value of residing, crimes, accidents, nationwide revenue, enterprise failures, and different phenomena.

An illustration might help clarify the idea of index numbers. Check out how costs are anticipated to rise in 2019. On this state of affairs there arises three fundamental questions.

  • First, compared to which yr did costs rise in 2019? 
  • Second, easy methods to reply when sure merchandise’ costs enhance extra quickly than others?
  • Third, is there any commonplace unit or not wherein the costs of various items and companies could be expressed? The value of milk could be expressed by way of a rupee per liter, of fabric by way of a rupee per meter, and sweets by way of a rupee per kilogram.

All questions could be answered by finding out index numbers.

  • First, the rise within the costs in 2019 could be studied utilizing the earlier yr, like 2015 or 2010 because the reference/base.
  • Second, the index quantity suggests contemplating a mean change. For instance, if the worth of potato rise from ₹100 to ₹200 and the worth of onions rise from ₹100 to ₹300, then the typical worth is taken into account ₹250. i.e. frac{200+300}{2}=frac{500}{2}
  • Third, the index quantity suggests contemplating solely the share change. Thus, the unit of commodity losses its relevance.

Which means and Historic background of Index Numbers

The index quantity was first constructed by an Indian Statistician, Carli in 1764. It was used for the primary time to check the costs of the yr 1750 with that of the yr 1500. An index quantity is a statistical device for measuring modifications within the magnitude of a bunch of associated variables. 

“Index Quantity reveals by its variation the modifications in a magnitude which isn’t inclined both of correct measurement in itself or of direct valuation in observe.”– Edgeworth

“Index Numbers are units for measuring variations within the magnitude of a bunch of associated variables.”– Croxton and Cowden

“An index quantity is a statistical measure designed to point out modifications in variable or a bunch of associated variables with respect to time, geographical location or different traits.” – Spiegal


An index quantity is used to show modifications in a variable or group of associated variables by means of time, house, or different elements. Comparisons could be made between components like individuals, hospitals, faculties, and so forth. It tracks modifications within the worth of variables equivalent to the price of residing, the amount of manufacturing in numerous industries, the costs of a listing of outlined commodities, and so forth. Additionally, because the index numbers are used to really feel the heartbeat of the economic system, they’re also called the Barometer of Financial Exercise.

Traits of Index Numbers

The varied options of Index Numbers are as follows:

1. Specialised Averages: 

To check two or extra collection, averages like imply, median and mode can be utilized. However averages cannot be used for comparability when collection are composed of various kinds of gadgets, or if two or extra collection are expressed in numerous models. Index numbers allow evaluating modifications in collection.

2. Expressed in Percentages:

The magnitude of a bunch’s modifications is expressed by way of percentages, that are impartial of the measurement models. It helps in determining how two or extra index numbers examine in numerous circumstances. Though, the % signal isn’t used.

3. It assesses the impression of modifications with respect to time or location:

To check modifications over time, between locations, and inside classes, index numbers can be utilized. For instance, the price of residing in two places could differ on the identical time, or the price of residing in a single metropolis could be in contrast over two time durations.

4. It measures the change that may not be measured straight:

Its function is to look at modifications within the impact of such elements that can not be noticed straight. For instance, the price of residing cannot be measured straight. We are able to solely research relative modifications by analyzing variations in some associated exterior elements.

Makes use of of Index Numbers

Virtually, in all areas of financial exercise, modifications are measured utilizing index numbers. It helps in recording modifications in output, revenue, employment, enterprise actions, productiveness, and so forth.

In line with M.M. Blair “Index numbers are the indicators and information posts alongside the enterprise freeway that point out to the businessman how he ought to drive or handle affairs.

Uses of Index Numbers


1. Measurement and Comparability of Modifications within the Worth Stage:

It isn’t attainable to measure modifications within the worth degree of two variables in absolute phrases; due to this fact, index numbers present a relative measure to the modifications within the magnitude of a bunch of variables. It may be used to know the affect of modifications within the worth of cash on completely different sections of society. It’s attainable to unravel the issue of inflation or deflation within the system.

2. Helps in Coverage Formulation:

An index quantity is a crucial device for presidency or non-government organizations within the following methods:

  • In coverage formulation, there’s a want for a base or development. With the index numbers, the tendencies of various phenomena could be studied.
  • It may even be utilized within the formulation and planning of presidency and enterprise insurance policies.

3. Acts as an Financial Barometer:

A barometer is an instrument that’s used to measure atmospheric strain. It signifies fluctuations within the common situations of a rustic and measures the heartbeat of the economic system.

4. Helps in Learning Commerce:

Index numbers are helpful in finding out the development of a collection over a time frame. It helps in forecasting future tendencies which is essential for any enterprise or manufacturing exercise’s future operations. In addition to, it additionally aids in figuring out patterns in exports, imports, costs, and a number of other different occurrences. For instance, If somebody is planning on opening up a brand new enterprise, then by finding out the development of worth, wages, revenue, and so forth., in numerous industries will assist the businessman in planning the longer term plan of action for the enterprise.

5. Measure Buying Energy:

Cash’s value is set by buying energy, and buying energy is set by commodity costs. Index numbers assist discover the intrinsic worth of cash as contrasted with its nominal worth. It helps in establishing the nation’s wage coverage. In addition to, a change within the worth of the commodity adversely impacts the worth of cash. When the worth degree of a commodity rises, the buying energy or worth of cash falls. 

6. Helps in Deflating Numerous Values:

With worth index numbers, it turns into straightforward to regulate the financial figures of the completely different durations for modifications within the worth. For instance, a rustic’s nationwide revenue is calculated on the premise of the costs of the yr talked about within the query. Nonetheless, the actual change within the manufacturing degree of products and companies can’t be revealed by means of the nationwide revenue computed on the present yr’s worth. To know the actual change, first, we now have to regulate the figures for the worth modifications in numerous years. Making changes is feasible solely through the use of worth index numbers. In addition to, in case of rise in costs, the method of adjustment is named deflating. 

Limitations of Index numbers

The restrictions of Index Numbers are as follows:

1. Gives Relative Modifications solely:

Index Numbers estimate relative modifications solely and can’t converse the reality as they’re solely approximate indicators. In addition to, they symbolize the generalized fact based mostly on the general common of the gadgets. Due to this fact, it doesn’t apply to particular models.

2. Lack of Good Accuracy:

Index numbers don’t contemplate each merchandise and are based mostly on the pattern gadgets. Thus, in case of an insufficient pattern or a pattern chosen by means of a defective course of, there shall be inaccurate outcomes.

3. Ignores Qualitative Modifications:

Index numbers don’t pay any consideration to the qualitative modifications within the product whereas establishing the worth or manufacturing. A rise within the worth probably outcomes from the advance within the high quality of the product. However it’s uncared for within the index numbers.

4. Chance of Manipulations:

Index numbers could be created in a method that enables for manipulation. This manipulation could be made in a number of a specific base yr, a specific group of commodities, a particular set of costs, and so forth.

5. Distinction between function and methodology of Building:

When the index numbers are created for a particular function utilizing a particular methodology, they don’t seem to be appropriate for all conditions and makes use of. If they’re employed for different causes, they’re certain to provide incorrect conclusions.



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