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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