How to Figure a Percentage of a Whole Number

By Brenda Sanders

Whole number percentages are merely parts of a hundred. They can be interchanged with fractions and decimals. Every percentage has a fraction equivalent. You can take any percentage and put the whole number over 100 to get the equal fraction. 82% is simply 82/100. Additionally, percentages can be written as decimal equivalents. For example, 67% could also be written as .67. Dividing the percent by 100 will yield its decimal equivalent. You could also simply move the decimal point in the whole number two to the left to get a percentage’s decimal equivalent. When doing this, remember that the decimal point in any whole number, though not written, is always to the right of the digit in the ones place. You can change the percentage into a decimal or a fraction in order to calculate the percentage of a whole number.

How to Figure a Percentage of a Whole Number

Write the percentage you want to find in the form of a fraction. The percentage you want to find will be the numerator and 100 will be the denominator. If the percentage you want to find is 50%, for instance, then you would write 50/100.

Reduce the fraction to its lowest terms by dividing the numerator and the denominator by the greatest common factor (GCF). For instance, using the same 50/100 in step one, we would divide the numerator and the denominator by 50, the GCF. This would reduce to ½. ½ is 50/100 in lowest terms.

Multiply the fraction written in lowest terms in step two (1/2) by whatever your whole number is. This would give you your answer. Let’s use 160 as our whole number. Multiplying ½ (from step two) by our whole number, 160, we get 80.

How to use decimals to calculate the percentage of a whole number

Write the percentage you want to find in the form of a decimal by dividing the whole number in the percentage by 100 or simply moving the decimal point two places to the left. If the percentage is 50% as in step one of section one, you would convert it to .50. You would get the same .50 by dividing the whole number in the percentage by 100 or by moving the decimal point two places to the left.

Use 160 as our whole number as we did in step three of section one.

Multiply the decimal obtained in step one, .50, by 160 from step two. This will give you your answer. Multiplying .50 (from step one) by the whole number, 160 (from step two), we get 80. We came to the same answer as we did in section one. The only difference was that we used a different method to arrive at the same answer.

About the Author

Brenda Sanders is an educator who has taught in many capacities for over 15 years. She recently completed her doctorate in education from George Fox University. Brenda received her MAT from Pacific University and a Bachelor of Arts degree in journalism from California State University, Long Beach. She has also worked as a proofreader, editor and writer.