Standard Article

Standardization Methods

  1. Hazel Inskip

Published Online: 15 JUL 2005

DOI: 10.1002/0470011815.b2a02043

Encyclopedia of Biostatistics

Encyclopedia of Biostatistics

How to Cite

Inskip, H. 2005. Standardization Methods. Encyclopedia of Biostatistics. 7.

Author Information

  1. University of Southampton, Southampton, UK

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 15 JUL 2005


Standardization methods are used to adjust for the effects of age and sex, and possibly other factors, in the comparison of mortality or disease rates between two or more populations. Such methods have a long history, particularly for the comparison of mortality rates. The two methods that are most widely used are known as direct and indirect standardization and the mortality ratios that are derived from these are known respectively as the Comparative Mortality Figure and the Standardized Mortality Ratio. When the populations at risk are hard to define, methods involving the proportions of deaths from specific causes can be used. More recently, different approaches involving modeling have been developed to adjust rates for the effects of age and other confounding factors.


  • standardization;
  • rates;
  • ratios;
  • proportions;
  • mortality;
  • expected numbers;
  • person-years-at-risk