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Death  (DEATH)

The study of mortality1 deals with the effect of death on the population. Occasionally the term mortality2 is used as a synonym for mortality rate2 or death rate2 which measures the frequency of deaths3. Where the expression mortality rate, or death rate is used without any qualifying adjective the crude death rate4 or general death rate4 is usually meant (cf. 135-8 for a general discussion of crude rates). This is generally an annual rate and consists of the ratio of the annual number of deaths occurring during a calendar year to the number exposed to the risk of dying during the same period. This number is equivalent to the mean population5 or average population5 for the period, and the population at the midpoint of the period can usually be substituted for the average population without appreciable error, if the size of the population is changing fairly uniformly. If the mortality of a sub-population (101-5) only is studied, we speak of specific death rates (cf. 134-6) among which sex-age-specific death rates6 are the most common. Age-specific death rates7 without distinction of sex are also used on occasions.

  • 3. death n. — die v., — dead adj. syn. — deceased adj. or n.