Two versions of variance and standard deviation functions are supported: a sampling version, and a population version. Choosing between the two versions depends on the statistical context in which the function is to be used.
All the variance and standard deviation functions are true aggregate functions in that they can compute values for a partition of rows as determined by the query's GROUP BY clause. As with other basic aggregate functions such as MAX or MIN, their computation also ignores NULL values in the input.
For improved performance, the database server calculates the mean and the deviation from the mean in one step, so only one pass over the data is required.
Also, regardless of the domain of the expression being analyzed, all variance and standard deviation computation is done using IEEE doubleprecision floatingpoint arithmetic. If the input to any variance or standard deviation function is the empty set, then each function returns NULL as its result. If VAR_SAMP is computed for a single row, then it returns NULL, while VAR_POP returns the value 0.
Following are the supported standard deviation and variance functions:
This function is an alias for the STDDEV_SAMP function.
This function computes the standard deviation of a population consisting of a numeric expression, as a DOUBLE.
The following query returns a result set that shows the employees whose salary is one standard deviation greater than the average salary of their department. Standard deviation is a measure of how much the data varies from the mean.
SELECT * FROM ( SELECT Surname AS Employee, DepartmentID AS Department, CAST( Salary as DECIMAL( 10, 2 ) ) AS Salary, CAST( AVG( Salary ) OVER ( PARTITION BY DepartmentID ) AS DECIMAL ( 10, 2 ) ) AS Average, CAST( STDDEV_POP( Salary ) OVER ( PARTITION BY DepartmentID ) AS DECIMAL ( 10, 2 ) ) AS StandardDeviation FROM Employees GROUP BY Department, Employee, Salary ) AS DerivedTable WHERE Salary > Average + StandardDeviation ORDER BY Department, Salary, Employee; 
The table that follows represents the result set from the query. Every department has at least one employee whose salary significantly deviates from the mean.
Employee  Department  Salary  Average  StandardDeviation  

1  Lull  100  87900.00  58736.28  16829.60 
2  Scheffield  100  87900.00  58736.28  16829.60 
3  Scott  100  96300.00  58736.28  16829.60 
4  Sterling  200  64900.00  48390.95  13869.60 
5  Savarino  200  72300.00  48390.95  13869.60 
6  Kelly  200  87500.00  48390.95  13869.60 
7  Shea  300  138948.00  59500.00  30752.40 
8  Blaikie  400  54900.00  43640.67  11194.02 
9  Morris  400  61300.00  43640.67  11194.02 
10  Evans  400  68940.00  43640.67  11194.02 
11  Martinez  500  55500.00  33752.20  9084.50 
Employee Scott earns $96,300.00, while the departmental average is $58,736.28. The standard deviation for that department
is $16,829.00, which means that salaries less than $75,565.88 (58736.28 + 16829.60 = 75565.88
) fall within one standard deviation of the mean. At $96,300.00, employee Scott is well above that figure.
This example assumes that Surname and Salary are unique for each employee, which isn't necessarily true. To ensure uniqueness, you could add EmployeeID to the GROUP BY clause.
The following statement lists the average and variance in the number of items per order in different time periods:
SELECT YEAR( ShipDate ) AS Year, QUARTER( ShipDate ) AS Quarter, AVG( Quantity ) AS Average, STDDEV_POP( Quantity ) AS Variance FROM SalesOrderItems GROUP BY Year, Quarter ORDER BY Year, Quarter; 
This query returns the following result:
Year  Quarter  Average  Variance 

2000  1  25.775148  14.2794... 
2000  2  27.050847  15.0270... 
...  ...  ...  ... 
This function computes the standard deviation of a sample consisting of a numeric expression, as a DOUBLE. For example, the following statement returns the average and variance in the number of items per order in different quarters:
SELECT YEAR( ShipDate ) AS Year, QUARTER( ShipDate ) AS Quarter, AVG( Quantity ) AS Average, STDDEV_SAMP( Quantity ) AS Variance FROM SalesOrderItems GROUP BY Year, Quarter ORDER BY Year, Quarter; 
This query returns the following result:
Year  Quarter  Average  Variance 

2000  1  25.775148  14.3218... 
2000  2  27.050847  15.0696... 
...  ...  ...  ... 
This function is an alias for the VAR_SAMP function.
This function computes the statistical variance of a population consisting of a numeric expression, as a DOUBLE. For example, the following statement lists the average and variance in the number of items per order in different time periods:
SELECT YEAR( ShipDate ) AS Year, QUARTER( ShipDate ) AS Quarter, AVG( Quantity ) AS Average, VAR_POP( quantity ) AS Variance FROM SalesOrderItems GROUP BY Year, Quarter ORDER BY Year, Quarter; 
This query returns the following result:
Year  Quarter  Average  Variance 

2000  1  25.775148  203.9021... 
2000  2  27.050847  225.8109... 
...  ...  ...  ... 
If VAR_POP is computed for a single row, then it returns the value 0.
This function computes the statistical variance of a sample consisting of a numeric expression, as a DOUBLE.
For example, the following statement lists the average and variance in the number of items per order in different time periods:
SELECT YEAR( ShipDate ) AS Year, QUARTER( ShipDate ) AS Quarter, AVG( Quantity ) AS Average, VAR_SAMP( Quantity ) AS Variance FROM SalesOrderItems GROUP BY Year, Quarter ORDER BY Year, Quarter; 
This query returns the following result:
Year  Quarter  Average  Variance 

2000  1  25.775148  205.1158... 
2000  2  27.050847  227.0939... 
...  ...  ...  ... 
If VAR_SAMP is computed for a single row, then it returns NULL.
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