# Percentages vs percentage points – what’s the difference?

Percentages and percentage points are commonly used terms that often appear in various financial and mathematical contexts. Although both terms are related to percentages, the difference between them is significant.

## What are percentages?

Percentages are a commonly used way of expressing the relationship between one number and another on a scale of 100. The percentage value is expressed as a number followed by the percent symbol (%). Percentages are often used in mathematical, statistical, and economic contexts to describe relative changes, shares, profits, and losses.

## What are percentage points?

Percentage points are a unit of measurement that expresses the difference between two percentage values. This means that when we talk about a one-percentage-point change, we mean a change of 1% on a scale of 100. Unlike percentages, which express the relationship between one number and another, percentage points measure the direct difference between two percentage values.

## Difference between percentages and percentage points

The fundamental difference between percentages and percentage points lies in how they are expressed and used. Percentages describe percentage relationships, while percentage points measure direct changes between two percentage values. Percentages are more abstract, while percentage points are more concrete and measurable.

A significant difference between them arises from the method of calculation. Percentages are used to express percentage relationships, which means that one number is used as a percentage of another number. On the other hand, percentage points measure the direct difference between two percentage values.

Percentages are always expressed on a scale of 0-100, where 0% represents the absence of a given value, and 100% represents its full occurrence.

Percentage points do not have a limited scale. They can be less than 1% or more than 100%, depending on the specific context.

## What are the applications of percentages and percentage points?

Percentages and percentage points have broad applications in various fields. Percentages are often used in finance, economics, and statistics for data analysis, calculating growth rates, determining percentage shares, and forecasting changes. They are also used in marketing to express the relative size of a market, market shares, and sales growth.

Percentages and percentage points are two different ways of expressing percentage relationships and changes. Percentages describe the relationship between one number and another, while percentage points measure the direct differences between two percentage values. Both terms have applications in finance, economics, and statistics, and understanding them correctly is important for data analysis and decision-making. Remember that when using these terms, it is crucial to understand their meaning and context accurately to avoid interpretational errors.

Tim Carney 