I've got a few frequencies, and I'm trying to work out if each of the frequencies is significantly different from zero. Most of the frequencies I can eyeball, but I wanted to have some for of statistic for some of the other frequencies.

Does anybody know of an appropriate statistical test for this? I couldn't seem to get SPSS or SAS to do this with Chi-square.

I've seen similar 'significantly different from zero' tests for continuous or ordered-categorical data but haven't found anything for frequencies.

Any ideas?



1 Answer 1


Note that if a population proportion is 0, you can't observe any counts in that category.

As a result you can always use this rejection rule:

If a sample count is not 0, reject the hypothesis that the population frequency is 0.

This test has type I error rate of 0 (there are no false rejections, since you can never reject unless the population frequency is non-zero). Power depends on sample size and the underlying frequency.


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