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Are the following phrases correct and do they mean the same in this situation?

  1. The rate/ratio/proportion of these workers per 1000 people/population

P.S. I realized that I had asked too many questions in one post, so I deleted two of the questions and just left the most important one.


The table below shows the number of temporary migrant workers in four countries in 2003 and 2006 and the number of these workers per 1.000 people in these countries in 2006.

Temporary migrant workers (2003 and 2006)

Country 2003 2006 Per 1000 people 2006
New Zealand 65.000 87.000 21.1
United Kingdom 137.000 266.000 4.4
Australia 152.000 219.000 10.7
United States 577.000 678.000 2.3

1 Answer 1

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Your question is are these correct:

  1. The number of these workers per 1000 people/population

Yes, provided you make it clear what the 'population' is. 'Per 1000 population' is a way of normalising numbers so they are comparable to a different population, so it can't just be the population of the world otherwise there is no comparison. For example, you might compare the number of migrant workers in the UK to the number in Canada by using 'per 1000 population' of each country.

  1. The rate/ratio/proportion of these workers per 1000 people/population

No - ratio or proportion are not correct. A ratio is expressed using an antecedent and a consequent. Proportion means the same. So, it is wrong to use these terms in connection with another specified denominator like 'per 1000 population'. The term "rate" is typically used to describe the number of occurrences of an event or phenomenon within a specific population over a specified period. For example, "the crime rate per 1,000 people." On the other hand, "average number" generally refers to the mean or typical value of a set of numbers.

So, if you're referring to the frequency of occurrences within a population, "rate" would be the more appropriate term.

  1. The ratio/proportion of these workers to 1000 people/population

No. Proportion is expressed as a ratio, so this is wrong for the same reason as the previous statement.

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  • "Just refer to the adjusted figure as "the rate per 1000 population" <= This is what you said in the other post of mine. I find it in contradiction to this answer. Commented Apr 20 at 18:15
  • Also, see entry 2 here, there's an example which is "the accident rate per 10 000 flight hours". I don't think 1000 or 100 is the problem here. Commented Apr 20 at 18:18
  • Please, stay with me until I work this out. This has bugged me for days. Whenever I discuss the usage of "rate" here, people just leave me with many unsolved questions. I'm a man of logic and I actually taught Math for some years in the past, so I do understand it. My only problem is the language barrier and the difference in the way Math is expressed in English and Vietnamese. Commented Apr 20 at 18:35
  • @KenAdams a rate is how much or how often you can expect something to happen. For example, 30 milesper hour means that you can expect to travel 30 miles every hour. In your examples, "21 migrants per 1000 population" means that you can expect there to be 21 migrants in every 1000 people on average. A ratio is not a rate, because 3:4 doesn't mean 3 for every 4, or 3 out of 4. It means for every 3 of one thing there is 4 of the other.
    – Astralbee
    Commented Apr 20 at 20:22
  • @KenAdams if there seems a contradiction I apologise. You've asked two different questions, right? If they are the same then we should be closing one as a duplicate. In the other answer I said to say "rate" for the number per 1000 pop. In this question you were saying "rate/ratio/proportion" like they were interchangeable. Personally, I prefer to use percentage for expressing rates. It's universal. Population adjusted figures are presented so inconsistently - sometimes it's per 1000, other times it's per 10K or even 1000K.
    – Astralbee
    Commented Apr 20 at 20:32

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