A **statistical model** is a class of mathematical model, which embodies a set of assumptions concerning the generation of some sample data, and similar data from a larger population. A statistical model represents, often in considerably idealized form, the data-generating process.

The assumptions embodied by a statistical model describe a set of probability distributions, some of which are assumed to adequately approximate the distribution from which a particular data set is sampled. The probability distributions inherent in statistical models are what distinguishes statistical models from other, non-statistical, mathematical models.

A statistical model is usually specified by mathematical equations that relate one or more random variables and possibly other non-random variables. As such, "a model is a formal representation of a theory" (Herman Adèr quoting Kenneth Bollen).

All statistical hypothesis tests and all statistical estimators are derived from statistical models. More generally, statistical models are part of the foundation of statistical inference.

In mathematical terms, a statistical model is usually thought of as a pair (), where is the set of possible observations, i.e. the sample space, and is a set of probability distributions on .

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