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A comprehensive analysis of the characteristics of distribution-system harmonics is provided. This analysis leads to the formulation of harmonic diversity factor tables. These tables give a reliable estimate of harmonic currents in distribution feeders and enable the engineers to determine the amount of background distortion of the voltage waveform. The use of the proposed tables will ease the computational difficulties in performing distribution system harmonic studies. Both deterministic and probabilistic methods were integrated in the conducted analysis in this paper to generate the diversity factor tables. The proposed method and the analysis results are presented in detail.