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is a Latin
Latin is an Italic language originally spoken in Latium and Ancient Rome. It, along with most European languages, is a descendant of the ancient Proto-Indo-European language. Although it is considered a dead language, a number of scholars and members of the Christian clergy speak it fluently, and...
prepositional phrase: per
(preposition, taking the accusative case, meaning "by, by means of") and capita
(accusative plural of the noun caput
, "head"). The phrase thus means "by heads" or "for each head", i.e. per individual or per person. The term is used in a wide variety of social sciences and statistical research contexts, including government statistics, economic indicators, and built environment studies.
It is commonly and usually used in the field of statistics
Statistics is the study of the collection, organization, analysis, and interpretation of data. It deals with all aspects of this, including the planning of data collection in terms of the design of surveys and experiments....
in place of saying "for each person
A person is a human being, or an entity that has certain capacities or attributes strongly associated with being human , for example in a particular moral or legal context...
" or "per person".http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/Per%20capitahttp://ixquick.com/do/metasearch.pl
It is also used in will
A will or testament is a legal declaration by which a person, the testator, names one or more persons to manage his/her estate and provides for the transfer of his/her property at death...
s to indicate that each of the named beneficiaries should receive, by devise or bequest, equal shares of the estate. This is in contrast to a per stirpes
Per stirpes is a legal term in Latin. An estate of a decedent is distributed per stirpes, if each branch of the family is to receive an equal share of an estate. When the heir in the first generation of a branch predeceased the decedent, the share that would have been given to the heir would be...
division, in which each branch (Latin stirps
, plural stirpes
) of the inheriting family inherits an equal share of the estate.