Percentages v Percentage points

Mistakes are often made to obscure the truth

What’s the difference between percentages and percentage points?
Sometimes mistakes are mistakes and sometimes they occur to obscure the truth. Never was it more apparent than with the use of percentages.

People are often scared of data and statistics and of numbers. This item was sparked by this post. This item is for you if you’ve ever wondered about percentage points and percentages. A percentage point is the simple numerical difference between two percentages. A percentage is a number or ratio expressed as a fraction of 100. If you want pedantic and highly considered descriptions of how to use percentages, try this published two years ago today (September 12, 2011). Please do let me know what you think.
Helpful example: An increase from 40 per cent to 50 per cent will often be described as a 10 per cent increase. However, it is a 10 percentage point increase and a 25 per cent increase which is quite a difference.
Sometimes such mistakes they occur to obscure the truth.

Marian Edmunds

September 12, 2013