What Is Percent?


Percent is a ratio. The word, taken from Latin, literally means "per hundred." Five percent means five out of 100. A percent is easily recognizable by the percent sign following the number. To read a percent read the number and then say percent -- 45% is read forty-five percent.

Percents as Fractions or Decimals

  • The percent sign is thought of as "out of 100." To turn the percent into a fraction, remove the percent sign, use the percent number as the numerator and add the denominator of 100. In the example of 45%, the fraction representing the same number is 45/100. To change the percent into a decimal, remove the percent sign. Since the ratio is out of 100, the percent is changed to a decimal by placing a decimal point and placing the number in the hundredths place. Forty-five percent is equivalent to 0.45.

How to Calculate Percentage

  • To calculate percentage, change the percent to a decimal. Multiply the decimal by the number you want to find the percent of. For example, to find 52% of 38, multiply 0.52 x 38. Nineteen and seventy-six hundredths, 19.76, is 52% of 38.


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