The Meaning of Percent

Meaning of Percent

Problem: What fraction of each grid is shaded?

Grid 1 Grid 2 Grid 3
Grid 1 Grid 2 Grid 3
Answer Answer Answer

Each grid above has 100 boxes. For each grid, the ratio of the number of shaded boxes to the total number of boxes can be represented as a fraction.

Comparing Shaded Boxes to Total Boxes
Grid Ratio Fraction
1 96 to 100
2   9 to 100
3 77 to 100

We can represent these fractions as percents using the symbol %.

= 96%       =   9%       = 77%

Definition: A percent is a ratio whose second term is 100. Percent means parts per hundred. The word comes from the Latin phrase per centum, which means per hundred. In mathematics, we use the symbol % for percent.

Let's look at our comparison table again. This time the table includes percents.

Comparing Shaded Boxes to Total Boxes
Grid Ratio Fraction Percent
1 96 to 100 96%
2 09 to 100 09%
3 77 to 100 77%

Let's look at some examples in which we are asked to convert between ratios, fractions, decimals and percents.

Example 1: Write each ratio as a fraction, a decimal, and a percent:   4 to 100,   63 to 100,   17 to 100

Solution
Ratio Fraction Decimal Percent
04 to 100 .04 04%
63 to 100 .63 63%
17 to 100 .17 17%

Example 2: Write each percent as a ratio, a fraction in lowest terms, and a decimal:   24%,   5%,   12.5%

Solution
Percent Ratio Fraction Decimal
24% 24 to 100 .240
05% 05 to 100 .050
  12.5% 12.5 to 100 .125

Example 3: Write each percent as a decimal:   91.2%,   4.9%,   86.75%

Solution
Percent Decimal
91.2% .9120
04.9% .0490
86.75% .8675

Summary: A percent is a ratio whose second term is 100. Percent means parts per hundred and we use the symbol % to represent it. In this lesson, we learned how to convert between ratios, fractions, decimals and percents.


Exercises

Directions: Read each question below. Select your answer by clicking on its button. Feedback to your answer is provided in the RESULTS BOX. If you make a mistake, choose a different button.

1.  Which of the following is equal to [IMAGE]?
 
      1.6
      8 to 100
      16%
      None of the above.

      RESULTS BOX:
          

2.  Which of the following is equal to 21.8%?
 
      218 to 100

      .218

      [IMAGE]

      None of the above.

      RESULTS BOX:
          

3.  Which of the following is equal to 150%
 
      15.0
      1.50
      .150
      None of the above.

      RESULTS BOX:
          

4.  Which of the following is equal to .0179?
 
      1.79%
      17.9%
      179%
      None of the above.

      RESULTS BOX:
          

5.  Which of the following is equal to 56.28%?
 
      56.28
      5.628
      .5628
      None of the above.

      RESULTS BOX: