Thursday, 15 November 2012

what is a quintile?

Today a family member asked me about a word in The Age newspaper - quintile. I asked her to read the sentence containing the word and she read:
The preliminary results showed the richest quintile of households received about 12 per cent of social assistance benefits while the second richest quintile got 11 per cent. 
I sounded like the word quartile, which I knew had something to do with quarters. [Here's the definition from Math Dictionary.] So I suggested quintile might relate to fifths.

And it does. The opening line of the article in The Age said:
The richest fifth of households receive nearly half of all the wages paid in Australia - but also get about 12 per cent of all government handouts, new research by the Bureau of Statistics show. 
Here's a more exact definition of the word from the Merriam-Webster 

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