Understanding and Using Percentiles in MATLAB

Percentiles are valuable statistical measures that help us understand the distribution of data. In MATLAB, you can compute percentiles (matlab percentile) to gain insights into data distribution and variability. In this article, we’ll dive into the concept of percentiles, explore how to calculate them using MATLAB, and provide examples with graphical representations to better understand their significance.

Understanding Percentiles

A percentile is a value below which a given percentage of observations fall. For example, the 50th percentile, also known as the median, is the value below which 50% of observations lie. Percentiles are often used to summarize the spread of data and identify outliers.

Calculating Percentiles in MATLAB

MATLAB provides the prctile function to calculate percentiles of a dataset. The syntax is as follows:

p = prctile(data, pth);

Where data is the dataset and pth is the desired percentile (expressed as a percentage).

Visualizing Percentiles

Let’s use graphical representations to better understand percentiles. Here are some examples:

Box Plot

% Create a box plot to visualize percentiles
data = randn(100, 1); % Example dataset
title('Box Plot with Percentiles');
matlab percentile

Empirical Cumulative Distribution Function (ECDF) Plot

% Create an ECDF plot to show percentiles
title('Empirical Cumulative Distribution Function (ECDF)');
matlab percentile

Interpreting MATLAB Percentile

Percentiles provide valuable insights into the distribution of data. For instance, if the 25th percentile of a dataset is low, it indicates that 25% of the data points are lower than that value. Similarly, a high 75th percentile suggests that 75% of data points are below that value.


Understanding and calculating percentiles in MATLAB is essential for analyzing and interpreting data distribution. By leveraging functions like prctile and visualizations like box plots and ECDF plots, you can gain insights into data variability and identify key trends that shape your data’s story.

External links – about matlab percentile :

  1. Official MATLAB Documentation – Percentile Function: The official MathWorks documentation provides detailed information about using the percentile function in MATLAB, along with practical examples. You can find information about the syntax, arguments, and available options for the function. Link: MathWorks Documentation – Percentile Function
  2. MathWorks Tutorial on Data Analysis with Percentile Functions: This tutorial will guide you through concrete examples of data analysis using the percentile function in MATLAB. You’ll find typical use cases and tips for interpreting the results you obtain. Link: Data Analysis with Percentile Functions in MATLAB
  3. Article on Measures of Dispersion with MATLAB, Including Percentiles: This article explores how to use percentiles to quantify data dispersion using MATLAB. It explains how to calculate different percentiles and how they can be interpreted to gain meaningful insights from your data. Link: Measures of Dispersion with MATLAB
Retour en haut