When looking at the mean, having low-paid or high-paid states will raise or lower it accordingly, as each state’s wages are taken into account when calculating this statistic. If, for example, there are four states that pay $20/hr each, but also $30/hr and $40/hr. The combined average wage of these four states would then be $35 per hour. This example shows how a state with a high average wage can have disproportionate influence on the national average.

When it comes to calculating medians though; outliers such as high-paid or low-paid states will have no effect whatsoever since they don’t affect which value falls in middle spot upon sorting them from least to greatest (In our above example; with four values sorted from least to greatest ($20/$30/$40/$50), it doesn’t matter whether we add a fifth value that’s either higher or lower than those four). Therefore regardless of what numbers are added into consideration for median calculations; an extreme outlier won’t change its result one bit as long as it isn’t part of that “middle” group.