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morbidity ratethe incidence of a certain disease or disorder in a population. This is generally calculated as the rate per 100,000 population in one year.
This is not as straightforward a measure to calculate as the DEATH RATE, since it is reliant on reporting of ILLNESS. Routine statistics are collected from the NHS, and are therefore dependent on the use of hospitals and GPs, and incomplete since they are not aware of illness and disability which does not involve them. Data may also be collected directly from the population, either by self-report (as in the GENERAL HOUSEHOLD SURVEY), or by screening a particular population or sample of a population.
Morbidity rates are of interest to the sociologist in that they vary according to social conditions and social classes. For example, the incidence of chest infections is higher in areas of POVERTY and poor housing, and the incidence of heart disease is related to diet, poverty and membership of the lower social classes. See also DEMOGRAPHY, EPIDEMIOLOGY, BLACK REPORT. SOCIOLOGY OF HEALTH AND MEDICINE.