How to subtract percentages

Updated April 17, 2017

Every number has a percentage. Percentage means "per or out of 100\" For example, if there is 10 pieces of candy in a bowl and you take all the pieces, you have 100% of the candy. If you only take 5, half of the candy, you have 50%. Understanding that percentages are everywhere is a good first step to learning to use them in math. When would this type of math come in handy? One really common example is when a store has a sale. The store usually offer a percentage off the price. This is the perfect example of when you might get to practice subtracting percentages off a number. The easiest way to deal with percentage is by converting them to decimals so they interact easily with the other numbers in the math problem.

Convert the percentage to a decimal. To do this, remove the percentage sign. This is a whole number with a decimal at the end. Move the decimal to the left 2 places. If the percentage only has one number, add a 0 to the left of the number. If the percentage is over 100% there will be a number in front of the decimal.

Multiply the number by the newly converted percentage.

This number is the difference between the first number and the per cent. A common application is to find the cost of a product. In this case, you will take the difference and subtract it from the first number.


Before doing the math with a calculator, make sure your teacher allows them. If you have to show your work, work the problem out on paper first and use the calculator to check your math.

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