This Glossary of Common Data Terms was developed locally as a non-technical resource for those interested in expanding their functional data vocabulary. This glossary contains commonly used data terms defined in easy-to-understand language. Although the definitions are informal and non-academic, the following academic texts heavily informed their development:

Shryock, H.S., and Siegel, J.S. The Methods and Materials of Demography. San Diego, CA: Academic Press, 1976.
Haupt, A. and Kane, T.T. Population Handbook. Washington, DC: Population Reference Bureau, Inc., 1978.

Click here for a printable version of the Glossary of Common Data Terms.

All | # A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z
There are currently 5 names in this directory beginning with the letter R.
a classification of a population based on biological characteristics.

the difference between the lowest and highest values in a set of values calculated by subtracting the lowest value from the highest.

the number of cases or events in a specified period of time and geography divided by the population who could have experienced – were “at risk” for – the case or event within that same period of time and geography. Rates are often multiplied by a factor of 1,000, 10,000, or 100,000 just to make the numbers easier to read. (A percentage is just a rate multiplied by a factor of 100.) As an example, the male juvenile arrest [case/event] rate in the US [geography] in 2015 [time] was 3,806.2 [frequency] per 100,000 [multiplier] males age 10-17 [population “at risk” of the case/event].

relation of one population subgroup to another subgroup, or to the whole population.

Residence data
data attributed geographically to the usual place of residence without regard to the location the event occurred. For example, births are attributed to the mother’s usual residence even if the birth occurred in a different geographic location.




Below are a few of the many free resources available online for those who would like to learn more about data, from the basics to advanced concepts and skills.

  1. School of Data.
  2. Data-Pop Alliance.
  3. Oceans of Data Institute.