Politico quotes Donald Trump :

Just this past week, Trump reveled in a mental list he has been keeping of how many tests the U.S. has conducted, approaching 14 million, in comparison with other countries — Germany at 3 million, Italy at 3 million. That list, like so many others, is designed to ensure American is ranked No. 1. Trump deflected when a reporter asked how America’s testing compared to other countries on a per capita basis, a measure by which the U.S. lags behind several countries.

“You know, when you say ‘per capita,’ there’s many per capitas,” he said. “It’s like, per capita relative to what? But you can look at just about any category, and we’re really at the top, meaning positive on a per capita basis, too.”

It has been a few decades since I was at school. Are there many, or even multiple, per capitas?

Btw, if I ought to be asking this on mathematics, cross validated (statistics), or elsewhere, feel free to migrate it.

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    N.B., Webster reports a 2300% one-day increase in lookups for the word merriam-webster.com/news-trend-watch/… And that's not the only weird/unintelligible thing he said on that day metro.co.uk/2020/05/21/… – Fizz May 24 at 11:39
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    The sentence is unclear. Asking us to parse it will just lead to opinion-based (and probably party-politically influenced) answers – Oddthinking May 24 at 15:26
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    What's opinion-based about it? All authorities agree on the meaning. Unless you mean Trump's opinion. – hdhondt May 25 at 3:50
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    @hdhondt: The relevant question is not "Does the phrase 'per capita' have different meanings in different dictionaries?" as though the claim was a proof-read text from an Economics journal. It is "What did a non-statistician, non-epidemiologist politician with a history of using terminology loosely and vaguely when speaking off-the-cuff mean when he said there were 'many per capitas'? And is that true?" Anything else is attacking a strawman (unless you can show many people believe the literal claim.) And that is opinion-based. – Oddthinking May 25 at 11:15
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    I disagree that this is opinion based. There are not "many" per capitas and I challenge anyone to suggest a plausible explanation of what Trump meant here. – DJClayworth May 25 at 13:18

Here are a few definitions of "per capita":

Wikipedia: The phrase thus means "by heads" or "for each head", i.e., per individual/person.

Merriam-Webster: per unit of population : by or for each person

Investopedia: Per capita means the average per person

Dictionary.com: by or for each individual person

Legal dictionary: many definitions, all amounting to "to be determined by the number of people"

A quick search will reveal many more, but they all amount to the same thing.

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    +1 for the Humpty Dumpty reference. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/… – Paul Johnson May 24 at 12:52
  • @PaulJohnson But it got edited out... – hdhondt May 25 at 4:05
  • There are all ways of defining the same thing indifferent words. After parsing them, their is only one definition of "per capita". – Mawg says reinstate Monica May 27 at 7:12
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    @MawgsaysreinstateMonica That's what I said: "they all amount to the same thing" – hdhondt May 27 at 10:03
  • And that's why I awarded you the answer :-) – Mawg says reinstate Monica May 27 at 20:19

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