For a dummy variable, what is a non-reference category called? Is there a general term for these categories other than non-reference categories?

  • 2
    $\begingroup$ For a categorical variable with $k$ levels, there is one reference category and $k-1$ non-reference category, so the "the" isn't clear ... $\endgroup$ Aug 2, 2019 at 10:45
  • $\begingroup$ Fair enough. So we have one reference category and one or more non-reference categories. What else can we call these other categories, other than non-reference categories. $\endgroup$
    – Chernoff
    Aug 3, 2019 at 15:07
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ I have never seen a specific name for those $\endgroup$ Aug 3, 2019 at 16:14

1 Answer 1


I've not seen any specific name for this but I think 'non-reference category' is clear enough. That said, there is likely to be a nicer way to phrase your point than using this slightly awkward phrase.


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