Standard populations are "artificial populations" with fictitious age structures, that are used in age standardization as uniform basis for the calculation of comparable measures for the respective reference population(s).
Age standardizations based on a standard population are often used at cancer registries to compare morbidity or mortality rates. If there are different age structures in populations of different regions or in a population in one region over time, the comparability of their mortality or morbidity rates is only limited. For interregional or inter-temporal comparisons, therefore, an age standardization is necessary. For this purpose the age structure of a reference population, the so-called standard population, is assumed for the study population. The age specific mortality or morbidity rates of the study population are weighted according to the age structure of the standard population.
Selection of a standard population:
Which standard population is used for comparison basically, does not matter. It is important, however, that
- a) the demographic structure of the standard population is not too dissimilar to that of the reference population and
- b) the comparable rates refer to the same standard.
After an age standardization, data of different years or regions are comparable without distortion because of different age structures. In the interpretation of age standardized morbidity or mortality rates it is important to notice that they are not real information in the sense of empirically observable data. In fact, they describe, what the mortality or morbidity rate would be like, if the reference population and the standard population were equal, thus abstracting from age structure effects.
- Ministerium für Gesundheit, Soziales, Frauen und Familie des Landes Nordrhein-Westfalen (Hrsg.) (2003): Indikatorensatz für die Gesundheitsberichterstattung der Länder. (Dritte, neu bearbeitete Fassung). Düsseldorf, S. 740 ff.
|Standard populations for age standardization used in the Health Monitoring System||Data owner: data source + comments|
|Standard population "Germany 1987"||Federal Statistical Office: Statistics on the natural movement of the population
Year of the population census in the former federal territory
|Standard population "Old Länder 1987"||Federal Statistical Office: Statistics on the natural movement of the population|
|Standard population "New Länder 1987"||Federal Statistical Office: Statistics on the natural movement of the population|
|Standard population of Europe 2013||The Standard population of Europe 2013 assumes that the groups of women and men have an identical age structure.|
|New standard population of Europe||WHO 1990|
|Old standard population of Europe||WHO (1976)
The old standard population of Europe assumes that the groups of women and men have an identical age structure.
|World standard population||United Nations World Populations Prospects
The world standard population assumes that the groups of women and men have an identical age structure.
|Standard population OECD||Age structure of the OECD countries 1980
For further information see: www.ecosante.org/OCDEENG/112000.html
This standard population assumes that the groups of women and men have an identical age structure.
The Federal Health Monitoring System 4 Dec 2021