basic mathematics image
 basic mathematics image

Meaning of percent

The meaning of percent and how to read percent is the goal of this lesson. The lesson is concise and to the point.

Look at the following 3 tables:

Table 1
x x x x x x x x x x

Table 2
x x x x x x x x x x
x x x x x x x x x x
x x x x x x x x x x
x x x x x x x x x x

Table 3
x         x        

Each table has 100 boxes.

In table 1, only 10 boxes out one hundred boxes have an x.

We say 10% of the figure have an x.

The symbol " % " is read as "percent" and percent means "per hundred" or "out of one hundred"

For 10%, we can also say that 10 per hundred boxes have an x.

In table 2, 40 boxes out of one hundred boxes have an x.

Therefore, we can write 40%

40% means 40 out of one hundred or 40 per hundred

In table 3, only 2 boxes have an x.

Therefore we can write 2%

Again, 2% means 2 out of one hundred or 2 per hundred

Meaning of percent in real life:


In a country in America 2% of the people are rich. What is the meaning of the 2%?

It means that for every 100 people, 2 people are rich.

Notice that this will mean that 4 people are rich out of 200 people


In a classroom 60% of the students are females. How many males are in that class?

We don't really know how many males are in that class since it is not given.

we know 40% are males

This means that if that class had 100 students 40 of them will be males

Be careful when reading a problem!

Test your knowledge of meaning of percent with the quiz below:

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