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Ratio  (RATIO)

A ratio1 is a quotient which indicates the relation in size of one number to another. A proportion2 is a ratio which indicates the relation in magnitude of a part to the whole. A percentage3 is a proportion in a hundred. A rate4 was initially a special type of ratio used to indicate the relative frequency5 (cf. 144-3) of the occurrence of a particular event within a population or sub-population. The term has, however, acquired a steadily wider meaning and is often used as a synonym for ratio. It is nowadays used in many different senses but the concept of ratio is common to them all.

  • 2. proportion n. — proportional adj.
  • 4. Rates are generally given per thousand, and where the term "rate" is used without qualification this is understood. Some rates, however, are given per ten thousand, per hundred thousand or per million, e.g. cause mortality rates (cf. 421-7). On other occasions rates may be given per head or per person. The word "rate" is sometimes omitted, thus one may find the expression "a mortality of ten per thousand", but this is not recommended.