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Multilingual Demographic Dictionary, second unified edition, English volume

Specific rate

Multilingual Demographic Dictionary, second unified edition, English vol.
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Specific rate  (SPECIFIC rate)

The relative frequency (133-5) of a non-renewable event is often regarded as an empirical measure of the probability 1 of occurrence of that event. This presumes that all the individuals who appear in the denominator have been exposed to risk 3 in some way, i.e. there must have been a chance 2 or risk 2 that the event in question could happen to them. The use of the term "risk" does not imply that the event in question is in any way unwanted; thus the term "risk of marriage" is used. The population is often divided into different sub-groups, in which the risk of the event in question is less variable between individuals than in the population as a whole; the subgroup is more homogeneous 4 with respect to the risk than the relatively heterogeneous 5 whole population. Rates calculated for such subgroups are called specific rates 6 as opposed to crude rates (136-8) which apply to the population as a whole. General rates 7 sometimes involve an age restriction, as in the instance of general fertility rates (633-7).

  • 1. Probability, n. - probable, adj.
  • 4. Homogeneous, adj. - homogeneity, n.
  • 5. Heterogeneous, adj. - heterogeneity, n.