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What are the chances?

                                                                               


On this website, we often give you information about the chance of different things happening if you choose one option or another option when making a decision. When we give you information about the chance of something happening, we usually talk about how many people it is thought to happen to, out of a group of 100 people. For example, we might say:

“The chance of having a caesarean section is 33 out of every 100.” [1]

If we say that the chance of having a caesarean section is 33 out of every 100, this means that 33 women in a group of 100 women having a baby have a caesarean section. This also means that 67 women in a group of 100 women having a baby do not have a caesarean section. This is the same as saying:

33% of women have a caesarean section.”  [1]

We might also show the chance of having a caesarean section in a picture, like this:





We might also show the chance of having a caesarean section in a picture, like this:


When we tell you the chance of something happening, it can still be hard to know how high that chance is. To help you to think about how high the chance is, some other chances you might be more familiar with are provided below.


In Australia each year:

5 out of every 1000 people are injured in a car accident (0.5%) [2]

2 out of every 100 people have vomiting or diarrhoea from food poisoning (2%) [3]

30 out of every 100 people catch a cold or flu (30%) [4]

45 out of every 100 people get sunburnt (45%) [5]





Where has this information come from?

[1] Laws PJ, Li Z & Sullivan EA 2010. Australia’s mothers and babies 2008. Perinatal statistics series no. 24. Cat. no. PER 50. Canberra, ACT: Australian Institute of Health and Welfare.

[2] New South Wales Centre for Road Safety. (2009). Road traffic crashes in New South Wales. Sydney, NSW: Author.

[3] Hall, G., & Kirk, M. (2005). Foodborne illnesses in Australia: Annual incidence circa 2000. Canberra, ACT: Australian Government Department of Health and Ageing.

[4] Del Mar, C., & PIncus, D. (1995). Incidence patterns of respiratory illness in Queensland estimated from sentinel general practice. Australian Family Physician, 24 (4), 625-629.

[5] Carter, O. B. J., & Donovan, R. J. (2007). Public (mis)understanding of the UV Index. Journal of Health Communication, 12, 41-52.