What is a technical term (perhaps from statistics) for the extent (or proportion) that a specified condition applies to some given population?

For example:

  • There is a communicable cancer currently ravaging the Tasmanian Devil species. I would use this term to say “the [extent/proportion in the population] of the cancer”.

  • Software test suites exercise some amount of the application code, by some metric such as code paths exercised by the tests. I would use this term to say “the [extent/proportion of application tested] of the test suite”.

Note that this is a descriptor for the condition, not the population. (As requested on a comment at a similar question, I am making a new question to be clearer.)

Also note this is not a term that applies specially to human populations, but rather to any population of things, living or inert, that could be affected by the condition.

What term, applied to the condition, connotes this meaning of penetration and/or extent?

  • Maybe I need more context, but I actually think "extent" works well as a descriptor of the condition. Or other synonyms like "breadth" or "magnitude".
    – Gwendolyn
    Commented Nov 27, 2018 at 0:32

2 Answers 2


The one I have used repeatedly across many diciplines is


This encompasses extent range sweep spread … etc.

"the extent that lies within the powers of something "

However it is not a perfect fit for your range of questions, which suggest you are looking more for a conditional associated word Category, Class, Order, Nature or Quality which collectively can be referred to as a

Property which has a secondary use as an attribute common to all members of a class

  • Thank you, I think “scope” has the connotations and limits I am needing.
    – bignose
    Commented Nov 29, 2018 at 3:00

Are you looking for "prevalence" or "prevalence rate" ?

  • "prevalence is the proportion of a population who have a specific characteristic in a given time period."

Examples from the web:

1 "...higher HIV prevalence among youth 15–24 years (10.3% vs. 9.3%) and a similar prevalence in adults 25 years and older (15.6% vs. 15.5%)."

2 "This study investigated the impact of an anti-bullying program on the prevalence of bullying at the junior and senior high level."

3 "The Memphis Police Department partnered with IBM to develop a predictive tool to reduce the prevalence of crime in the city.7"


Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.