A written description of how a single population lives is called?


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Robert Schatten answered
Written descriptions that are made to refer to how a single population lives can be called generalisations. This is a term that can be used to describe something as large as a single population or something as small as referring to a bird as an animal. Technically a generalisation must refer to two concepts, A and B. A is considered a generalisation of B if every instance of concept B is also a concept A; and there are other instances of concept A which are not instances of concept B. For this example the single population (A) is a generalisation of how specific individuals in the population live (B). Each of these individuals (B) are instances of the single population (A) but not all members of the single population (A) will live like the specific individuals (B). In Layman’s terms this means that the generalisation that is made about a single population represents the majority but not every single individual.

Using generalisations about a single population can have both its advantages and disadvantages. Referring to how a single population lives with generalisations allows a country or city to calculate average facts and figures about the people who live there. These numbers can be used, alongside generalisations of other countries or cities, to compare status and other information. These facts can be used by countries in a number of ways. For example, they can be used to provide comparison figures for individuals, such as the UK average salary is £26,000, or the American average male weight is 13.6 stone. Sometimes these generalisations can have negative feedback.

As they do not represent every individual member of a population, some may argue that the representations are unfair. This is seen particularly if the generalisations are made about a race.  Descriptions that generalise how a single population need to be carefully written to avoid offence and should have emphasis placed on the idea that they do not represent everybody.

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