Absolute Risk

Level of risk expressed with standard units of measurement that allows for independent interpretation without comparison to estimates of other risks.

Sample Usage:

Analysts used the absolute risk estimate for a particular scenario to determine if a mitigation measure was cost effective.


  1. The absolute risk value of a scenario has a meaningful independent interpretation in contrast to relative risk that is meaningful only in comparison to other similarly constructed risk values. 2) Can be measured using annualized lives lost, expected economic impact, or other metrics but it is not a ratio of risks.
  2. Can measure absolute level of risk pre-or post-risk reduction measures.

Source: DHS Risk Lexicon, U.S. Department of Homeland Security, 2010 Edition. September 2010 Regulatory Guidance

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