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Percentages (%)

When we say "Percent" we are really saying "per 100"

One percent (1%) means 1 per 100.

1% of this line is shaded green: it is very small isn't it?

50% means 50 per 100


(50% of this box is green)

25% means 25 per 100


(25% of this box is green)

Examples:
100% means all.
Example:

100% of 80 is 100100 × 80 = 80
50% means half.
Example:

50% of 80 is 50100 × 80 = 40
5% means 5/100ths.

Example:

5% of 80 is 5100 × 80 = 4
Using Percent
When 100% =
80

then:
75% = 60

Use the slider and try some different numbers


(What is 40% of 80? What is 10% of 200? What is 90% of 10?)

Because "Percent" means "per 100" think:


"this should be divided by 100"
So 75% really means 75100

And 100% is 100100, or exactly 1 (100% of any number is just the number,
unchanged)

And 200% is 200100, or exactly 2 (200% of any number is twice the number)

A Percent can also be expressed as a Decimal or a Fraction

A Half can be written...

As a percentage: 50%
As a decimal: 0.5
1
As a fraction: /2

Read more about this at Decimals, Fractions and Percentages .

Some Worked Examples


Example: Calculate 25% of 80
25% = 25100

And 25100 × 80 = 20

So 25% of 80 is 20

Example: 15% of 200 apples are bad. How many apples are
bad?

15% = 15100

And 15100 × 200 = 15 × 200100


= 15 × 2
= 30 apples

30 apples are bad

Example: if only 10 of the 200 apples are bad, what percent is


that?

As a fraction, 10200 = 0.05

As a percentage it is: 10200 x 100 = 5%

5% of those apples are bad

Example: A Skateboard is reduced 25% in price in a sale.


The old price was $120.
Find the new price.

First, find 25% of $120:

25% = 25100
And 25100 × $120 = $30

25% of $120 is $30

So the reduction is $30

Take the reduction from the original price

$120 − $30 = $90

The Price of the Skateboard in the sale is $90

Calculation Trick
This little rule can make some calculations easier:

x% of y = y% of x
Example: 8% of 50

8% of 50 is the same as 50% of 8

And 50% of 8 is 4

So 8% of 50 is also 4

The Word
"Percent" comes from the latin Per Centum. The latin word Centum means 100,
for example a Century is 100 years.
Percent vs Percentage
My Dictionary says "Percentage" is the "result obtained by multiplying a
quantity by a percent". So 10 percent of 50 apples is 5 apples: the 5 apples is
the percentage.
But in practice people use both words the same way.

Percentage Difference
The percentage difference is:

The difference between two values divided by the average of the two values.
Shown as a percentage.

Difference means to subtract one value from another:

Example: Alex sold 15 tickets, and Sam sold 25

The difference between 25 and 15 is: 25 − 15 = 10

Average is the value halfway between:

average = first value + second value2

Example continued

The average of 25 and 15 is: (25 + 15) / 2 = 40/2 = 20

And then the difference as a Percentage of the average:

Example continued

 Difference is 25 − 15 = 10
 Average is (25 + 15) / 2 = 20

10 as a percentage of 20 is:

1020 × 100% = 50%


The percentage difference between 25 and 15 is 50%

Here is the answer, in one line:

Example continued

25 − 15(25 + 15)/2 × 100% = 50%

Now let's find out when, why and how to use it ...

When Should it be Used?


Percentage Difference is used when both values mean the same kind of
thing (for example the heights of two people).

 But if there is an old value and a new value, we should use Percentage Change
 Or if there is an approximate value and an exact value, we should
use Percentage Error

Why do we Average the Two Values?


Because there is no obvious way of choosing which value is the "reference"
value.

Example continued

 If we use "15" we get 10/15 = 66.6...%


 If we use "25" we get 10/25 = 40%

But which one should we use? And if someone else did the calculations which
one would they use?

So it is best to choose a value halfway between so there is no confusion.


What if the Difference is Negative?
We can't say which value is more important, so we can't say if the difference is
"up" (positive) or "down" (negative) ... so we simply ignore any minus sign.

Example: Alex works 6 hours, and Sam works 9 hours

Difference = 6 − 9 = −3

But in this case we ignore the minus sign, so we say the difference is simply 3

(We could have done the calculation as 9 − 6 = 3 anyway,


as Sam and Alex are equally important!)

The Average is (6+9)/2 = 7.5

Percentage Difference = (3/7.5) x 100% = 40%

How to Calculate
Step 1: Calculate the difference (subtract one value form the other) ignore any
negative sign
Step 2: Calculate the average (add the values, then divide by 2)
Step 3: Divide the difference by the average
Step 3: Convert that to a percentage (by multiplying by 100 and adding a "%" sign)

Examples
Example: Juice costs $4 in one shop and $6 in another shop, what is
the percentage difference?

 Step 1: The difference is 4 − 6 = −2, but ignore the minus sign: difference=2
 Step 2: The average is (4 + 6)/2 = 10/2 = 5
 Step 2: Divide: 2/5 = 0.4
 Step 3: Convert 0.4 to percentage: 0.4×100 = 40%.

The percentage difference is 40%

Another Example: There were 160 smarties in one box, and 116 in
another box, what is the percentage difference?

160 to 116 is a difference of 44.

Average is (160+116)/2 = 276/2 = 138

44/138 = 0.319 (rounded to 3 places) = 31.9%

The percentage difference is 31.9%

The Formula
You can also put the values into this formula:

|First Value − Second Value(First Value + Second Value)/2| ×


100%

(The "|" symbols mean absolute value , so any negatives become positive)

Example: "Best Shoes" gets 200 customers, and "Cheap Shoes" gets
240 customers:

|240 −200(240 + 200)/2| × 100% = |40/220| × 100% = 18.18...%


An interesting thing about this formula is that it doesn't matter which is the 1st
or 2nd Value:

Put the values the other way around:

|200 − 240(200 + 240)/2| × 100% = |−40/220| × 100% = 18.18...%

The answer is the same (because we take the absolute value).


Percentage Points
One Percentage Point = 1%, as a simple difference.
Example: Going from 14% to 15% is a rise of 1 Percentage Point

How to Avoid Confusion with "Percentage


Difference"!
If you simply subtract one percentage from another, use the term
" Percentage Points " when talking about the difference.

This makes it clear that you do not mean a relative change (ie some fraction of
the original value).

Example:
Headline: "Interest Rates Jump From 10% to 12%"
Is 12/10 = 1.2 = 120%, so that is a
that: 20% rise.
O From 10% to 12% which is a 2%
r is that: rise?

Is it 20% or just 2%?

Correctly speaking, that was a 20% rise, because "%" is a ratio of


two values (the new value divided by the old value).
But people with home loans may think you mean that interest rates went from
10% to 30%, and you don't want them falling over in surprise!

So, the alternative is to say it was a rise of 2 Percentage Points .

So here are two correct ways to talk about a rise from 10% to 12%:

a rise of 20%

a rise of 2 Percentage Points

When in doubt, use both. For example, "Interest rates increased by


2 Percentage Points today, meaning a 20% increase in interest payments"

Basis Points
In financial markets they often use the term "Basis Points". A Basis Point is one
hundredth of a Percentage Point:

1 Basis Point = 0.01 Percentage Points

so:

100 Basis Points = 1 Percentage Point

Example:

The difference between 8.10% and 8.15% is 5 Basis Points


Decimals, Fractions and Percentages
Decimals, Fractions and Percentages are just different ways of showing
the same value:

A Half can be written...

As a fraction: 1
/2
0.
As a decimal:
5
5
As a percentage:
0%

A Quarter can be written...

As a fraction: 1
/4
0.
As a decimal:
25
2
As a percentage:
5%

Here, have a play with it yourself:

2
5%

One Quarter
© 2015
MathsIsFun.com v 0.81
Example Values
Here is a table of commonly used values shown in Percent, Decimal and
Fraction form:

Percen De Fractio
t cimal n
0.0
1% 1
/100
1

0.0
5% 1
/20
5

10% 0.1 1
/10

0.1
12½% 1
/8
25

20% 0.2 1
/5

0.2
25% 1
/4
5

0.3
331/3% 1
/3
33...

50% 0.5 1
/2

0.7
75% 3
/4
5

80% 0.8 4
/5

90% 0.9 9
/10

0.9
99% 99
/100
9

100% 1

1.2
125% 5
/4
5

150% 1.5 3
/2

200% 2
Conversions

FROM PERCENT TO DECIMAL

To convert from percent to decimal : divide by 100, and remove the "%" sign.

The easiest way to divide by 100 is to move the decimal point 2 places to
the left:

From To
Percent Decimal

move the decimal point 2 places to the left, and remove


the "%" sign.

FROM DECIMAL TO PERCENT

To convert from decimal to percent : multiply by 100, and add a "%" sign.

The easiest way to multiply by 100 is to move the decimal point 2 places to
the right:

From To
Decimal Percent

move the decimal point 2 places to the right, and add


the "%" sign.
FROM FRACTION TO DECIMAL

The easiest way to convert a fraction to a decimal is to divide the top number
by the bottom number (divide the numerator by the denominator in
mathematical language)

Example: Convert 2
/5 to a decimal

Divide 2 by 5: 2 ÷ 5 = 0.4

Answer: 2/5 = 0.4

FROM DECIMAL TO FRACTION

To convert a decimal to a fraction needs a little more work.

Example: To convert 0.75 to a fraction


Steps Example
0
First, write down the decimal "over" the number 1 .75
1

0.
Multiply top and bottom by 10 for every number after the 75 × 100
decimal point (10 for 1 number, 100 for 2 numbers, etc) 1
× 100

7
5
(This makes a correctly formed fraction)
1
00

3
Then Simplify the fraction
4
FROM FRACTION TO PERCENTAGE

The easiest way to convert a fraction to a percentage is to divide the top


number by the bottom number. then multiply the result by 100, and add the
"%" sign.

Example: Convert 3
/8 to a percentage

First divide 3 by 8: 3 ÷ 8 = 0.375,


Then multiply by 100: 0.375 x 100 = 37.5
Add the "%" sign: 37.5%

Answer: 3/8 = 37.5%

FROM PERCENTAGE TO FRACTION

To convert a percentage to a fraction , first convert to a decimal (divide by


100), then use the steps for converting decimal to fractions (like above).

Example: To convert 80% to a fraction


Steps Example
Convert 80% to a decimal (=80/100): 0.8

0
Write down the decimal "over" the number 1 .8
1

0
Multiply top and bottom by 10 for every number after the .8 × 10
decimal point (10 for 1 number, 100 for 2 numbers, etc) 1
× 10
8
(This makes a correctly formed fraction) 1
0

4
Then Simplify the fraction
5
Converting Between
Decimals, Fractions, and
Percents
Percent to DecimalPercent to FractionDecimal to FractionDecimal to PercentFraction to
DecimalFraction to PercentEquivalents
Purplemath

Percentages refer to fractions of a whole; that is, whatever you're looking at, the percentage is how
much of the whole thing you have. For instance, "50%" means "\frac{1}{2}21"; "25%" means
"\frac{1}{4}41"; "40%" means "\frac{2}{5}52"; et cetera.

Often you will need to figure out what percentage of something another thing is. For instance, if a
class has 26 students, and 14 are female, what percentage of the students are female? It is 14 out
of 26, or \frac{14}{26}2614 = 0.538461538462..., which is about 54%. (For more information on

"percent" word problems, look at the Percent of lesson.)

MathHelp.com

Decimals and Percents

"Percent" is actually "per cent", meaning "out of a hundred". (It comes from the Latin per centum for
"thoroughly hundred".) You can use this "out of a hundred" meaning, along with the fact
that fractions are division, to convertbetween fractions, percents, and decimals.
Percent to Decimal

Percent-to-decimal conversions are easy; you mostly just move the decimal point two places. The
way I keep it straight is to remember that 50%, or one-half, of a dollar is $0.50. In other words, I have
to move the decimal point two places to the left when I convert from a percent (50%) to
a decimal (0.50). To do any other percent-to-decimal conversion, I move the decimalpoint the same
number of places in the same direction, and drop the "%" character.

Here are some more examples of this conversion process:

27% = 0.27

I dropped the "%" character and moved the decimal point two places to the left.

104% = 1.04

This percentage had three digits, so moving the decimal point two places to the left still left a digit on
the other side of the decimal point. You should expect this result from time to time.

0.5% = 0.005

This percentage already had a decimal place, which meant that the decimal form would have three.
Don't assume that your decimal forms will always have two decimal places; they can have many, or
even none. It'll depend on the percentage.

You can use the Mathway widget below to practice converting a percentage to a decimal. Try the
entered exercise, or type in your own exercise. Then click the button to compare your answer to
Mathway's. (Or skip the widget and continue with the lesson.)

Percent to Fraction
Percent-to-fraction conversions aren't too bad. This is where you use the fact that "percent" means
"out of a hundred". First you convert the percent to a decimal, and then you convert the decimal to
an out-of-a-hundred fraction. Then you simplify, if possible. For instance:

40\% = 0.40 = \dfrac{40}{100}40%=0.40=10040

First I dropped the "%" character and moved the decimal point two places to the left. Then
I converted the decimalto an out-of-a-hundred fraction. Now I can reduce the fraction:

\dfrac{40}{100} = \dfrac{4}{10} = \dfrac{2}{5}10040=104=52

Most of these conversions are simple like the one above, but some require a little extra care. The
reason I converted to a decimal first is that the number of decimal places tells me how many zeroes
to have underneath. Notice that "0.40" can also be written as "0.4". Then 0.4 = \frac{4}{10} =
\frac{2}{5}104=52, which is the same answer as before. It works out because "0.4" has
one decimal place and "10" has one zero. This concept (matching the number of decimalplaces with
the number of zeroes) helps in more complicated problems:

104\% = 1.04 = \dfrac{104}{100} = \dfrac{26}{25}104%=1.04=100104=2526

Here are some more examples:

0.5\% = 0.005 = \dfrac{5}{1000} = \dfrac{1}{200}0.5%=0.005=10005=2001

Note that this percentage had a decimal place. This is what required the decimal to
have three decimal places. Don't just assume that all percentages will convert to two decimal places.
Pay attention to what you're doing!

33\, \dfrac{1}{3} \% = 0.33\, \dfrac{1}{3} = \dfrac{33\, \frac{1}{3}}{100} =


\dfrac{\left(\frac{100}{3}\right)}{\left(\frac{100}{1}\right)} = \dfrac{1}{3}3331%=0.3331
=1003331=(1100)(3100)=31

Note here that the fraction is carried right along. Yes, the decimal point is moved two places to the
left, but the fraction doesn't budge. Then the resulting mixed number is placed over a hundred: two
zeroes for the two decimal places in the decimal form. The fraction does not count toward
the decimal places in your fractional form.
12\, \frac{1}{2}\% = 12.5\% = 0.125 = \dfrac{125}{1000} = \dfrac{1}{8}1221
%=12.5%=0.125=1000125=81

Because ½ is a terminating decimal (namely, 0.5), this percentage is simpler to convert than was the
previous one. Since the decimal form had three decimal places, the conversion fraction had three
zeroes in the denominator.

If you plan to take a business-math class, you should expect to need to work with percentages which
contain fractions. It's a good idea to understand how to do this stuff anyway, but I've only ever seen
it come up in business classes.

If you have a graphing calculator, you can probably have the calculator do this conversion for you.
Check your manual.