To understand the % sign, ask yourself the following four questions:
(1)
__What does the % sign mean?__
. . .
*A ***%** is used to
compare
a
number
(any number)
to 100
**using division.**
Under normal circumstances, *all numbers are compared* to the number 1 *using division*.
For example, the number 3 is only a 3 when it is compared to the number 1 *using division*. It is three times as big as the number 1.

However, a % does not use the number 1 for comparison purposes.
A **%** is used to compare a number (any number) to 100 *using division*.

Continuing on with the number 3 as an example, the result would be: (Note that the quotient must still equal 3. The number 300 is three times as big as 100.)

The final percentage is:
3 = 300%
. . .
*Any number* can be converted to a %. You can complete a short calculation similar to the example shown above, or . . .

. . . Just move the decimal point to the right by two places.

(2)
__Where is a % math symbol used?__
*A % math symbol is *__only__ used to represent a proportion.*
A percent tells you that you are dealing with a
ratio.*

Although any number can be converted into a %, percents are only used to represent ratios.
What is the point of converting a ratio to a %?

Why not just skip the % and use the original number?

Is there any advantage to saying 5.6% instead of .056?

Read on . . .

(3)
__How is a % math symbol used?__
There are thousands and thousands of applications where the concept of a percent is used every day.
Here are some common examples:

. . .
*Sales Tax* . . . . . . If you pay sales tax, the tax will be stated as a %. If the sales tax is 8%, this means that you will pay the government a tax of 8 dollars for every 100 dollars you spend.

. . .
*Bank Interest* . . . . . . If you deposit money in a bank, the interest the bank will pay on your account will be stated as a %. If the interest rate is 5% (simple annual interest), this means that the bank will pay you 5 dollars for every 100 you leave in your account for one year.

. . .
*Credit Card Interest* . . . . . . If you use a credit card, the interest you pay on the outstanding balance you owe will be stated as a %. If the interest rate is 20% (simple annual interest), this means that you pay the credit card company an extra 20 dollars per year for every 100 dollars of unpaid debt.

. . .
*Test Grades in School* . . . . . . Test grades in school are often stated as a %. If a student has a test average of 81%, this means that for every 100 questions the student answers on his or her tests, 81 questions are answered correctly.

. . .
*Slope of a railroad track* . . . . . . Slope is often stated as a %. If a slope of a railroad track is a 5% grade, this means that for every 100 feet of horizontal distance the tracks drop 5 feet in elevation.

. . .
*Survey (Poll) * . . . . . . Survey results are often stated as a %. If a survey found that 75% of restaurant patrons preferred a certain type of food, this means that for every 100 people, 75 people prefer that type of food.

(4)
What __math symbols can be mistaken for a % sign__ ?
. . .
*Per mille* . . . . . . The Per mille symbol is **not equivalent** to a Percent symbol.

1 % means 1 part in 100.

1
*means 1 part in 1000. *
. . .
*Basis point* . . . . . . The Basis Point symbol is **not equivalent** to a Percent symbol.

1 % means 1 part in 100.

1
*means 1 part in 10000. *