quin·​tile | \ ˈkwin-ˌtī(-ə)l How to pronounce quintile (audio) \

Definition of quintile

: any of the four values that divide the items of a frequency distribution into five classes with each containing one fifth of the total population also : any one of the five classes

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Breaking Down the Meaning of Quintile

Many people have a deep interest in statistics about themselves, whether the information provided is about income, ice-cream consumption, or trash production. And any such rating can be divided into fifths, or quintiles. The fifth or lowest quintile would include the 20 percent of the population who make the least money or eat the least ice cream or generate the least trash, and the first quintile would include the 20 percent who make, eat, or generate the most.

Examples of quintile in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

Still, there are some signs of hope for the counties that the group rates as the most economically distressed quintile. New York Times, "In the Race for Factory Jobs Under Trump, the Midwest Isn’t Winning," 14 June 2019 The average incomes for those in the second quintile — a proxy for the working-class — rose faster than any other group. Karl W. Smith, Twin Cities, "Karl W. Smith: The good news about income inequality," 15 Sep. 2019 In 2016, for instance, 89 percent of the poorest quintile of older households (defined as those headed by someone 55 or older) had zero retirement savings to speak of. Washington Post, "Poor and middle-class Americans are much less likely to survive into their 70s than the wealthy, federal report says," 10 Sep. 2019 The study also doesn’t identify earnings cutoffs or shares of income for the different quintiles. Jo Craven Mcginty, WSJ, "Earnings in the U.S.: A Game of Chutes and Ladders," 14 June 2019 Companies with plans rated in the top quintile were also 40% to 80% more profitable, on average, when measured by net income per employee. Anne Tergesen, WSJ, "401(k) Plan Quality Correlates With Company Profits," 17 Sep. 2018 Shares of companies in the second and third quintiles have risen 13% and 12% respectively, this year, beating the 8.7% advance by the largest companies in the index, Strategas data show. Corrie Driebusch, WSJ, "It’s Not All Tech. Small Stocks Are Powering the Market Higher.," 16 Sep. 2018 Recent wage gains have been fastest for workers in the bottom quintile. Jason Furman, WSJ, "The Case for Pausing the Interest-Rate Climb," 27 Nov. 2018 The richest quintile — those just below the top 1 percent — had a similar gain of nearly 80 percent. James Freeman, WSJ, "Prosperity and its Temporary Side Effects," 19 Nov. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'quintile.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of quintile

1922, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for quintile

Latin quintus + English -ile entry 2

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Statistics for quintile

Last Updated

14 Oct 2019

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Time Traveler for quintile

The first known use of quintile was in 1922

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Financial Definition of quintile

What It Is

A quintile is one of five equal parts.

How It Works

For example, if we were to look at all of the closing prices for Company XYZ stock for every day in the last year, the top 20% of those prices would represent the upper quintile of the data. The bottom 20% of those prices would represent the lower quintile of the data. There would be three quintiles in between the upper and lower quintiles. The average of all the stock prices typically falls right in the middle, between the second and fourth quintiles.

Why It Matters

Quintiles are crucial for studying economic data, income data, stock data, and virtually any other kind of financial information. By breaking things into quintiles, an analyst can make a variety of inferences about the data and how the observed item behaves.

Source: Investing Answers

More from Merriam-Webster on quintile

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with quintile

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