Percent Increase vs. Percent of Whole

When talking about percentages, it is very important to understand the distinction between a percent increase/change and a percent of something. A ‘percent of’ equation is a part is a percent of a whole (P=Wx%). A percent increase is almost exactly the same, except it also includes the whole itself in addition to the equation (I=Wx%+W).


Percent Increase vs. Percent of Whole
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Percent Increase vs. Percent of Whole

When you’re talking about percentages, it’s very important to understand the distinction between a percent increase, or, more generally, a percentage change and a percentage of something. All that we’ve looked at so far has been a percent of something rather than a percent change. The “percent of” equation looks like this: A part is a percent of or percent times a whole.


If you have a percent increase or a percent change, what it looks like is an increase, which is the same equation as here, a percentage times the whole, but that’s in addition to the hole itself. To write this in a more parallel way, it’s a whole times a percentage, plus a whole, times 100%. When combining these two terms, we can write this as an increase is a whole times some percentage, plus 100%.


If you say that you have a 200% increase in something, what that means is that the new amount, or the increased amount, is now 3x the previous amount. The 200% increase is in addition to the 100% that was already there. This is an important distinction to understand when you’re talking about and dealing with percentage problems.



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Last updated: 06/15/2018
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