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Percent vs. Percentage: What's the Difference?

Edited by Harlon Moss || By Janet White || Published on January 25, 2024
Percent refers to a specific number in every hundred, represented by the symbol "%", whereas percentage is the general concept or method of expressing a number as a fraction of 100.

Key Differences

Percent (symbol: %) is used to express a number as a part of a whole, specifically a part per hundred. For example, 50% means 50 out of 100. Percentage, on the other hand, is a noun that refers to the amount, number, or rate of something expressed as a fraction of 100.
In mathematics, percent is often used to describe a proportion relative to a whole. For example, saying "25% of the class" is specific. Percentage is used more generally, often in discussions about the concept, such as "calculating the percentage."
When expressing ratios or comparisons, percent is the term used. For instance, "sales increased by 10% last year." Percentage is used to refer to the abstract concept or in expressions like "a large percentage of the population."
Grammatically, percent is often used as an adjective or adverb, as in "a 20% increase" or "prices rose 5%." Percentage is a noun, as in "a significant percentage of the budget."
In practical terms, when referring to specific figures, percent is used, such as "60% of the vote." When discussing the concept or an unspecified amount, percentage is used, like "a high percentage of voters."

Comparison Chart


Part of a whole per hundred
Concept of expressing a fraction of 100


Specific number (e.g., 50%)
General concept or method


Often in ratios/comparisons
General discussions, abstract

Grammatical Role


Example Application

"30% discount"
"A small percentage of errors"

Percent and Percentage Definitions


Represents a fraction of a total in statistics.
40% of the survey respondents were under 30.


Used in describing the extent or degree of something.
Only a small percentage of applicants were accepted.


Often used in expressing discounts or interest rates.
There was a 15% discount on all electronics.


Refers to a part or segment of a total or whole.
A significant percentage of the population voted in the election.


A unit of measure equal to one hundredth of a total.
75% of the class passed the exam.


A rate or proportion per hundred.
The percentage of renewable energy usage is rising.


Used to denote a proportion in relation to a whole.
Her investment grew by 10% last year.


A proportion or share in relation to a whole.
A large percentage of the budget was allocated to health care.


A rate per hundred used in calculations.
The tax was increased by 2% this year.


A fraction or ratio with 100 understood as the denominator; for example, 0.98 equals a percentage of 98.


Out of each hundred; per hundred.


The result obtained by multiplying a quantity by a percent.


Pl. percent also per cent One part in a hundred
The report states that 42 percent of the alumni contributed to the endowment. Also called per centum.


A proportion or share in relation to a whole; a part
The hecklers constituted only a small percentage of the audience.


Pl. percents A percentage or portion
She has invested a large percent of her salary.


An amount, such as an allowance, duty, or commission, that varies in proportion to a larger sum, such as total sales
Work for a percentage.


Percents Chiefly British Public securities yielding interest at a specified percentage.


(Informal) Advantage; gain
There is no percentage in work without pay.


Paying or demanding interest at a specified percentage
A 2.25 percent checking account.


The amount, number or rate of something, regarded as part of a total of 100; a part of a whole.
A high percentage of secondary school leavers take a gap year.


For every hundred (used with preceding numeral to form a noun phrase expressing a proportion).


A share of the sales, profits, gross margin or similar.
She gets a percentage for every vacuum cleaner sold.


A percentage, a proportion (especially per hundred).
Only a small percent attain the top ranks


(informal) Benefit or advantage.
There was no percentage in staying at home.


One part per hundred; one percent.


A certain rate per cent; the allowance, duty, rate of interest, discount, or commission, on a hundred.


The percent sign, %.


A proportion multiplied by 100


An annuity or security with a certain fixed and guaranteed annual percentage rate of return or percentage dividend.


Assets belonging to or due to or contributed by an individual person or group;
He wanted his share in cash


A proportion multiplied by 100


What does percent mean?

Percent is a specific number representing a part of a whole per hundred.

What is the meaning of percentage?

Percentage is a general concept of expressing a rate or proportion out of 100.

Can percent and percentage be used interchangeably?

No, they have different uses; percent is specific, percentage is general.

How is percent used in a sentence?

As in, "The interest rate increased by 3%."

How do you use percentage in a sentence?

Like, "A high percentage of the group agreed."

What is an example of percent in finance?

"The loan has an interest rate of 5%."

What symbol represents percent?

The percent symbol is "%."

How do you convert a number to percent?

Multiply by 100 and add the percent symbol.

How is percentage calculated?

By dividing the part by the whole and multiplying by 100.

Can percent be more than 100?

Yes, it can represent more than the whole in some contexts.

Do percentages always add up to 100?

In some contexts, yes, but not always.

Can percentage exceed 100?

Yes, it can also go beyond 100 in certain calculations.

Can percentage be zero?

Yes, it can indicate no part or proportion.

What’s the difference in their usage in academic writing?

Percent is used for specific data, percentage for general discussion.

Is there a symbol for percentage?

No, percentage is written out as a word.

Is percent always a smaller number?

Not necessarily; it depends on the whole it's compared to.

Is 0% a valid percent?

Yes, it represents none or zero part of the whole.

How do businesses use percentage?

Often in profit calculations, like "a 10% increase in sales."

How is percentage used in statistics?

As in, "20% of the data points were outliers."

How do you express a fraction as a percent?

Multiply the fraction by 100 and add the percent symbol.
About Author
Written by
Janet White
Janet White has been an esteemed writer and blogger for Difference Wiki. Holding a Master's degree in Science and Medical Journalism from the prestigious Boston University, she has consistently demonstrated her expertise and passion for her field. When she's not immersed in her work, Janet relishes her time exercising, delving into a good book, and cherishing moments with friends and family.
Edited by
Harlon Moss
Harlon is a seasoned quality moderator and accomplished content writer for Difference Wiki. An alumnus of the prestigious University of California, he earned his degree in Computer Science. Leveraging his academic background, Harlon brings a meticulous and informed perspective to his work, ensuring content accuracy and excellence.

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