Max Rady College of Medicine

Term: Person-Years / Person Years

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Glossary Definition

Last Updated: 2013-10-30


A measurement of observation time per person and is often used as the denominator in incidence rates when, for varying periods, individuals are at risk of developing a disease, using a health service, or dying. Instead of using the number of people at the start of the observation period as the denominator, one can determine for each person the actual time at risk, from the beginning of the study period until the disease is detected, the person is lost to follow-up (i.e., moves out-of-province or dies), or the end of the study period. If a study period is one year and a person is disease free for the entire period then they will have a person-year value of one; while if another person develops a disease six months after the start of the study, they will have a person-year value of 0.5 (Young, 1998).

Related concepts 

Related terms 


  • Young TK. Population Health: Concepts and Methods. New York, NY: Oxford University Press; 1998.(View)

Term used in 

  • Chartier M, Finlayson G, Prior H, McGowan K, Chen H, de Rocquigny J, Walld R, Gousseau M. Health and Healthcare Utilization of Francophones in Manitoba. Winnipeg, MB: Manitoba Centre for Health Policy, 2012. [Report] [Summary] (View)
  • Fransoo R, Martens P, The Need to Know Team, Prior H, Burchill C, Koseva I, Bailly A, Allegro E. The 2013 RHA Indicators Atlas. Winnipeg, MB: Manitoba Centre for Health Policy, 2013. [Report] [Summary] [Additional Materials] (View)
  • Martens P, Nickel N, Forget E, Lix L, Turner D, Prior H, Walld R, Soodeen RA, Rajotte L, Ekuma O. The Cost of Smoking: A Manitoba Study. Winnipeg, MB: Manitoba Centre for Health Policy, 2015. [Report] [Summary] [Updates and Errata] [Additional Materials] (View)

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University of Manitoba
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