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Percentage Change | Increase and Decrease
For an explanation and everyday examples of using percentages generally see our page Percentages: An Introduction. For more general percentage calculations see our page Percentage Calculators.
To calculate the percentage increase:
First: work out the difference (increase) between the two numbers you are comparing.
Increase = New Number – Original Number
Then: divide the increase by the original number and multiply the answer by 100.
% increase = Increase ÷ Original Number × 100.
If your answer is a negative number, then this is a percentage decrease.
To calculate percentage decrease:
First: work out the difference (decrease) between the two numbers you are comparing.
Decrease = Original Number – New Number
Then: divide the decrease by the original number and multiply the answer by 100.
% Decrease = Decrease ÷ Original Number × 100
If your answer is a negative number, then this is a percentage increase.
If you wish to calculate the percentage increase or decrease of several numbers then we recommend using the first formula. Positive values indicate a percentage increase whereas negative values indicate percentage decrease.
Examples – Percentage Increase and Decrease
In January Dylan worked a total of 35 hours, in February he worked 45.5 hours – by what percentage did Dylan’s working hours increase in February?
To tackle this problem first we calculate the difference in hours between the new and old numbers. 45.5 – 35 hours = 10.5 hours. We can see that Dylan worked 10.5 hours more in February than he did in January – this is his increase. To work out the increase as a percentage it is now necessary to divide the increase by the original (January) number:
10.5 ÷ 35 = 0.3 (See our division page for instruction and examples of division.)
Finally, to get the percentage we multiply the answer by 100. This simply means moving the decimal place two columns to the right.
0.3 × 100 = 30
Dylan therefore worked 30% more hours in February than he did in January.
In March Dylan worked 35 hours again – the same as he did in January (or 100% of his January hours). What is the percentage difference between Dylan’s February hours (45.5) and his March hours (35)?
First calculate the decrease in hours, that is: 45.5 – 35 = 10.5
Then divide the decrease by the original number (February hours) so:
10.5 ÷ 45.5 = 0.23 (to two decimal places).
Finally multiply 0.23 by 100 to give 23%. Dylan’s hours were 23% lower in March than in February.
You may have thought that because there was a 30% increase between Dylan’s January hours (35) and February (45.5) hours, that there would also be a 30% decrease between his February and March hours. As you can see, this assumption is incorrect.
The reason is because our original number is different in each case (35 in the first example and 45.5 in the second). This highlights how important it is to make sure you are calculating the percentage from the correct starting point.
Sometimes it is easier to show percentage decrease as a negative number – to do this follow the formula above to calculate percentage increase – your answer will be a negative number if there was a decrease. In Dylan’s case the increase in hours between February and March is -10.5 (negative because it is a decrease). Therefore -10.5 ÷ 45.5 = -0.23. -0.23 × 100 = -23%.
Calculating Values Based on Percentage Change
Sometimes it is useful to be able to calculate actual values based on the percentage increase or decrease. It is common to see examples of when this could be useful in the media.
You may see headlines like:
UK rainfall was 23% above average this summer.
Unemployment figures show a 2% decline.
Bankers’ bonuses slashed by 45%.
These headlines give an idea of a trend – where something is increasing or decreasing, but often no actual data.
Without data, percentage change figures can be misleading.
Ceredigion, a county in West Wales, has a very low violent crime rate.
Police reports for Ceredigion in 2011 showed a 100% increase in violent crime. This is a startling number, especially for those living in or thinking about moving to Ceredigion.
However, when the underlying data is examined it shows that in 2010 one violent crime was reported in Ceredigion. So an increase of 100% in 2011 meant that two violent crimes were reported.
When faced with the actual figures, perception of the amount of violent crime in Ceredigion changes significantly.
In order to work out how much something has increased or decreased in real terms we need some actual data.
Take the example of “UK rainfall this summer was 23% above average” – we can tell immediately that the UK experienced almost a quarter (25%) more rainfall than average over the summer. However, without knowing either what the average rainfall is or how much rain fell over the period in question we cannot work out how much rain actually fell.
Calculating the actual rainfall for the period if the average rainfall is known.
If we know the average rainfall is 250mm, we can work out the rainfall for the period by calculating 250 + 23%.
First work out 1% of 250, 250 ÷ 100 = 2.5. Then multiply the answer by 23, because there was a 23% increase in rainfall.
2.5 × 23 = 57.5.
Total rainfall for the period in question was therefore 250 + 57.5 = 307.5mm.
Calculating the average rainfall if the actual amount is known.
If the news report states the new measurement and a percentage increase, “UK rainfall was 23% above average… 320mm of rain fell…”.
In this example we know the total rainfall was 320mm. We also know that this is 23% above the average. In other words, 320mm equates to 123% (or 1.23 times) of the average rainfall. To calculate the average we divide the total (320) by 1.23.
320 ÷ 1.23 = 260.1626. Rounded to one decimal place, the average rainfall is 260.2mm.
The difference between the average and the actual rainfall can now be calculated:
320 – 260.2 = 59.8mm.
We can conclude that 59.8mm is 23% of the average rainfall amount (260.2mm), and that in real terms, 59.8mm more rain fell than average.
The percentage decrease calculator determines the change from one amount to a lesser amount in terms of percent decrease. It is important to understand how to calculate percent decrease manually using the percent decrease formula. The content below will explain these concepts in further detail.
How to calculate percent decrease
- Suppose original value is
750and new value is
590. Input this into the formula below.
- Perform the operation
750 - 590 = 160.
- Check your answer using the percentage decrease calculator.
So you must provide an original quantity and a new quantity. The new quantity must be less than the original or the change will be an increase. The difference between the quantities is computed, which is divided by the original quantity. The result is multiplied by 100. This can also be accomplished using the percentage difference calculator and the percentage change calculator.
Percent decrease formula
Percent decrease = [(original_value - new_value)/original_value * 100]
Other related concepts
The basic a concept of percentage is essentially the portion of one value in terms of another if the original was divided into 100 parts. For example, 3 compared to 50 is 6 compared to 100, which is 6 parts of 100, or 6 percent. The easy way to learn how to find a percentage is to take the partial quantity, divide it by the whole quantity, then multiply the remaining value by 100.
how to calculate percent increase
If you want to know how to calculate percent increase you can use the percent increase calculator or work it out by hand. >Another interesting aspect of the percentage decrease calculator is that it displays the difference as well as the percent difference. In some cases, you may only want to know the raw difference, so we have designed the calculator to serve multiple purposes.