The Excel VAR.P function returns the variance in an entire population.  If data represents a sample of the population, use the VAR.S function.


Get variation of population

Return value 

Computed variance


  • number1 - First number or reference.
  • number2 - [optional] Second number or reference.

How to use 

The VAR.P function calculates variance for data that represents an entire population. Variance measures how far a data set is spread out, giving you a general idea of the spread of your data.  The VAR.P function can accept up to 254 arguments.

Variation functions in Excel

The table below summarizes the variation functions available in Excel.

Name Data set Text and logicals
VAR Sample Ignored
VARP Population Ignored
VAR.S Sample Ignored
VAR.P Population Ignored
VARA Sample Evaluated
VARPA Population Evaluated


  • VAR.P assumes data represents the entire population. If data represents a sample, compute variance with VAR.S.
  • VAR.P only evaluates numbers in references, ignoring empty cells, text, and logical values like TRUE or FALSE.
  • Arguments can either be numbers or names, arrays, or references that contain numbers.
  • Arguments can be hard-coded values instead of references.
  • To evaluate logical values and/or text, use the VARPA function.
Dave Bruns Profile Picture

AuthorMicrosoft Most Valuable Professional Award

Dave Bruns

Hi - I'm Dave Bruns, and I run Exceljet with my wife, Lisa. Our goal is to help you work faster in Excel. We create short videos, and clear examples of formulas, functions, pivot tables, conditional formatting, and charts.