Learn to code for data analysis
Learn to code for data analysis

Start this free course now. Just create an account and sign in. Enrol and complete the course for a free statement of participation or digital badge if available.

Free course

Learn to code for data analysis

1.7 Comments

Last on my to-do list is the death rate, which is the number of deaths divided by the population.

A quick glance at the WHO website tells me Portugal’s population in 2013.

In []:

populationOfPortugal = 10608

Wait a minute! This can’t be right. I know Portugal isn’t a large country, but ten and a half thousand people is ridiculous. I look more carefully at the WHO website. Oh, the value is given in thousands of people; it’s 10 million and 608 thousand people. I could change the assignment to

In []:

populationOfPortugal = 10608000

but that could give the impression that the population had been counted exactly, whereas it’s more likely the number is an estimate based on a previous census. It also makes it easier to check my code against the WHO data if I use the exact same numbers.

I will therefore keep the original assignment but make a note of the unit, using a comment , a piece of text that documents what the code does.

In []:

# population unit: thousands of inhabitants

populationOfPortugal = 10608

# deaths unit: inhabitants

deathsInPortugal = 140

A comment starts with a hash sign (#) and goes until the end of the line. Computers ignore all comments, they just execute the code. Comments are your insurance policy: they help you understand your own code if you come back to it after a long break.

I can now compute the death rate, making sure I first convert the population into number of inhabitants, the same unit as deaths.

In []:

deathsInPortugal / (populationOfPortugal * 1000)

Out[]:

1.3197586726998491e-05

The death rate (roughly 140 people in 10 million) is a very small number, not very practical to display and reason about. Looking again at the WHO website, I note that other indicators, like TB prevalence, are given per 100 thousand inhabitants. I will do the same for the death rate. Since the population is already in thousands, dividing the deaths by the population gives me the number of deaths per thousand people. Thus, the number of deaths per 100 thousand people must be 100 times higher than that.

In []:

# death rate: deaths per 100 thousand inhabitants

deathsInPortugal * 100 / populationOfPortugal

Out[]:

1.3197586726998491

This finishes the basics of coding needed for this week. It took less than 30 lines of code…

Test this out for yourself in Exercise 4 of the Week 1 exercise notebook.

Exercise 4 Comments

Complete the short exercise on the death rate in Exercise 4 in the Week 1 Exercise notebook.

Remember that once the notebook is open, run all the code, before doing the exercise.

LCDAB_1

Take your learning further

Making the decision to study can be a big step, which is why you'll want a trusted University. The Open University has 50 years’ experience delivering flexible learning and 170,000 students are studying with us right now. Take a look at all Open University courses.

If you are new to University-level study, we offer two introductory routes to our qualifications. You could either choose to start with an Access module, or a module which allows you to count your previous learning towards an Open University qualification. Read our guide on Where to take your learning next for more information.

Not ready for formal University study? Then browse over 1000 free courses on OpenLearn and sign up to our newsletter to hear about new free courses as they are released.

Every year, thousands of students decide to study with The Open University. With over 120 qualifications, we’ve got the right course for you.

Request an Open University prospectus371