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Ratio, proportion and percentages
Ratio, proportion and percentages

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1 Ratio

1.1 Introduction

Ratios crop up often in official statistics. The government wants the teacher–pupil ratio in schools to be increased to one teacher to thirty pupils or less. The birth rate has fallen: the ratio of children to women of child bearing age has gone down. It used to be 2.4 to 1, and now it is 1.9 to 1. Predictions for the ratio of working adults to retired adults is disturbing. Predictions are, that by 2030 the ratio will be two working adults to every retired person, instead of three to one now, and four to one ten years ago.

Often ratios are implicit in the language rather than explicitly referred to: one teacher for 30 pupils; 2.4 children per woman of child bearing age; one retired person per two working adults. The word ‘per’ often indicates that the concept of ratio is being used.