Difference Between Percentage and Percentile

Difference Between Percentage and Percentile

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Rashmi Karan
Manager - Content
Updated on Feb 19, 2024 13:31 IST

Percentile and percentage are essential when describing quantities, particularly scores or marks. They provide essential insights into various analytical and comparative scenarios. The percentage is an arithmetic concept that allows you to compare different fractions, while the percentage value defines the percentile under a ranking system. Percentage & percentile seem the same, but they are surprisingly different. 



What is Percentage?

The percentage is an arithmetic concept used to summarize and clearly express data related to fractions and ratios. A percentage refers to a number out of 100 and is important to standardize different amounts, brands, numbers, ratios, and proportions. Also, the percentage can be written in fractions or decimals.

For example, consider the percentage of 5%. This is equivalent to the fraction 5/100.

Since the number one hundred is a power of ten, the math involved is convenient, and a fraction involving one hundred is easier to understand.

The general formula for calculating the percentage can be given as follows:

x / y × 100 = ___%

A fraction or a ratio multiplied by 100 gives the percentage. The percentage value is generally a value between 0 and 100. However, this can be extended to values ​​beyond 100. 

The percentage is always indicated by placing the percent symbol % on the right-hand side of the number. x and y can be any real number, except for y, excluding the value 0. The real value of the fraction (x / y) depends on the problem at hand.

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What is Percentile?

Percentile Meaning: The percentile is a statistical concept. It is a value at or below which a certain distribution percentage falls. An element in the nth percentile implies that n% of the distribution is below that element.

For example, if a student got 80th percentile on a math test, it implies that 80% of the students scored below that student.

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Main Differences Between Percentage And Percentile


Meaning and distribution

  • A percentage is a measurement tool that calculates numbers out of 100, while the percentile is the percentage’s mathematical value to determine the numerical value scored above or below a percentage.
  • The percentage distribution is particular to a person and unique to them, and you cannot distribute it evenly among the masses.
  • The percentile compares various percentages in a given situation in an environment.

Therefore, it can be said that a percentile is distributed among the people, while the percentage is not.

Rank and Symbol

  • The percent symbol is relatively easier to identify, denoted as ‘%.’
  • No particular symbol connotes percentile, but an annotated value denotes it. The representation of a percentile is something like nth. Here, ‘n’ is any numerical range of a percentile. For example, if a student received an 80th percentile ranking, 80% received less than 80 per cent of the marks.
  • The percentage has no range and is factual mathematical numerical data.

Ratio And Decimal

  • A percentage can have decimals, and it has a reason to derive an answer. The range must be at most 1.4 or 1.5. We cannot say that I stood at 1.7 in my class.
  • The percentile would either be 1st or 2nd. For example, we can easily derive a percentage of our grades, but we need to weigh the grades received.

But at the same time, we can weigh all student’s grades in the class in percentile ranking. This will also reveal your rank based on students who scored the same as or below you.

Position of Quartiles Arena  

The percentage does not refer to quartiles. Quartiles are similar to a quarter. Percentiles, however, refer to quartiles.

For example –

  • 25th percentile is called the first quartile
  • 50th is called the second quartile
  • 75th percentile is the third quartile
  • 100th is the fourth quartile.

The percentage is specific to a mathematical value that is unique to one person. The percentile takes the total of an entire group of people. Therefore, the percentage position is always outside of 100. The percentile is at or below the score received against a well-distributed group.


How is the percentage different from Ratio?

While both Percentage and Ratio express parts of a whole, the percentage is a relative measure relative to 100, while Ratio is an absolute measure without any unit of measurement.

Can percentile be greater than 100?

No, percentiles cannot be greater than 100, as they represent the percentage of data below a certain value. A 100th percentile means all data points are below that value.

How are Percentiles useful in standardized testing?

Standardized testing percentages help rank students' performances relative to others who took the same test. A student scoring in the 90th percentile performed better than 90% of test-takers.

What is the significance of a 50th percentile (median)?

The 50th percentile, also known as the median, represents the middle value in a dataset. It divides the data into two halves, with 50% of values above and 50% below.

How are Percentages and Percentiles used in finance?

In finance, Percentages are used to express interest rates, profit margins, or returns on investments, while Percentiles help analyze wealth distributions and evaluate risk levels in portfolios.

About the Author
Rashmi Karan
Manager - Content

Rashmi is a postgraduate in Biotechnology with a flair for research-oriented work and has an experience of over 13 years in content creation and social media handling. She has a diversified writing portfolio and aim... Read Full Bio