How to Calculate a 1:10 Ratio

By Jennifer Spirko
Once you know the rules, numbers are easy to manipulate.

A ratio demonstrates the relationship between two numbers. The relationship can exist between categories, such as proportions of milk to flour in a recipe, or between a category and a whole, such as proportion of deaths in a population. Ratios can be expressed as fractions, explains Ann Xavier Gantert in her textbook, "Amsco's Integrated Algebra I." The order is very important. The ratio 1:10, one of the simplest to calculate, is not the same as 10:1. Expressing the ratio as a fraction makes the importance of order obvious; one-tenth does not equal 10 wholes.

Part-to-Part Relationship

You can express the quantitative relationship between two categories in a group or mixture with ratios. Using an adaptation of the recipe example provided by Sybilla Beckmann in her math education textbook, 1 tablespoon of cinnamon to 10 tablespoons of sugar yields a ratio of 1:10. If the amounts increase proportionally, the ratio stays the same. For instance, if there are 4 tablespoons of cinnamon and 40 tablespoons of sugar, the ratio is 4:40. Simplify the ratio in the same way you would a fraction. The common denominator is four; divide four into both sides of ratio to get the simplified ratio 1:10. There is 10 times as much sugar as cinnamon.

Part-to-Whole Relationship

Fractional expression of a ratio may be easier to visualize when it describes the relationship between a part and whole. If a zoo has 10 gibbons, one of which is male, the ratio of gibbon males to the zoo's gibbon population is 1:10; one-tenth of the gibbons are male. Tenths can be converted directly to percentages: one-tenth, expressed as a decimal, equals the proportion 0.1, which equals 10 percent. Therefore, 10 percent of the gibbons are male.

About the Author

Jennifer Spirko has been writing professionally for more than 20 years, starting at "The Knoxville Journal." She has written for "MetroPulse," "Maryville-Alcoa Daily Times" and "Some" monthly. She has taught writing at North Carolina State University and the University of Tennessee. Spirko holds a Master of Arts from the Shakespeare Institute, Stratford-on-Avon, England.