Health United States 2020-2021

Relative standard error (RSE)

A measure of an estimate’s reliability. The RSE of an estimate is obtained by dividing the standard error of the estimate, SE(r), by the estimate itself, r. This quantity is expressed as a percentage of the estimate and is calculated as:

RSE=100 ×[SE(r)/(r)]

Estimates with large RSEs are considered unreliable. In Health, United States, most statistics with large RSEs are preceded by an asterisk or are not presented. The criteria for evaluating RSEs is discussed in the footnotes accompanying each table. A multistep National Center for Health Statistics data presentation standard for proportions has replaced RSE to identify unreliable estimates of proportions for the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey beginning with the 2013–2014 cycle and the National Health Interview Survey beginning with 2016. All estimates on the Topics webpages are presented according to these standards. (Also see Sources and Definitions, Statistical reliability of estimates.)