Comparison of two rates

Command: Tests
Next selectRates
Next selectComparison of two rates


A rate is a ratio between a count and another measurement, for example the ratio of a number of events observed and the total number of person-years of observation.

This procedure allows to compare the rates in two groups.

This test is not performed on data in the spreadsheet, but on data you enter in a dialog box.

For the difference between two rates, MedCalc uses the "Test based Method" given on page 169 of Sahai H, Khurshid A (1996).

For the incidence rate ratio, MedCalc uses the "Exact Poisson Method" given on page 172-174 of Sahai H, Khurshid A (1996).

Required input

  • Numerator: the observed number of events in each group.
  • Denominator: for example the total person-years for each group.
  • Option Express result as 1:X: when this option is selected the rate R will be displayed as 1:(1/R), e.g. the rate 10/200 equals 0.05 and can be represented as 1:20.

When all data have been entered click the Test button.


Comparison of rates

The program displays:

  • The (incidence) rate in the two groups with their Poisson 95% Confidence Interval.
  • The difference between the two rates R2-R1 with its 95% Confidence Interval and associated P-value. If the P-value is less than 0.05 it can be concluded that there is a statistical significant difference between the two rates.
  • The ratio of the two rates (the incidence rate ratio) R1/R2 and its 95% Confidence Interval. If the value 1 is not in this interval, it can be concluded that the ratio R1/R2 is not significantly different from 1 (in which case the rates would be equal).

In the Comment input field you can enter a comment or conclusion that will be included on the printed report.


  • Sahai H, Khurshid A (1996) Statistics in epidemiology: methods, techniques, and applications. Boca Raton, FL: CRC Press, Inc.

See also

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