There is a great interest in comparing twinning rates. These comparisons can be performed between different time periods for a specific population, between different regions within the same country, and between different populations. However, there are several factors (maternal age, parity, urbanization, etc.) that influence the twinning rate. The most dominant one is maternal age, and because the age distribution of the mother varies, it is necessary to standardize the data to make these comparisons. If we want to compare the twinning rates in different countries, we have to face the problem that the composition of the data from different countries may differ to a great extent. The applicable method is determined by the data of the lowest quality. Often the available data do not allow the traditional (direct and/or indirect) methods of standardization. Under such circumstances other methods have to be used. Earlier, Fellman and Eriksson (1987) proposed and successfully applied a new method. In this article we discuss the standardization problem in more detail. We suggest different methods and apply them to different data on twinning from Australia, Finland, and Baden-Wiirttemberg (West Germany). The new standardization methods give standardized twinning rates similar to the rates obtained by traditional methods. It is noted that, irrespective of standardization method, changes in maternal age alone cannot explain temporal or regional variations in the twinning rate. Other factors that may raise or lower the twinning rate are decreasing parity, sociodemographic changes with increased communication, which causes the breakup of isolates, and deteriorating physical condition of mothers as a result of increased industrialization and urbanization.
Fellman, J. O. and Eriksson, A. W.
"Standardization of the Twinning Rate,"
6, Article 6.
Available at: http://digitalcommons.wayne.edu/humbiol/vol62/iss6/6