# Math Explanation Help: Difference in Percentages

#### KuraiChikara

##### Board Regular
Hello,
I'm not that good at math and I was recently doing some work where I receive an answer and it's correct, but I don't understand the answer.

Process: Finding the percentage difference (increase or decrease) between two percentages.
The standard setup is: Original Percent - New Percent / Original Percent.

I agree with that: 100%-40%/100% =a difference of 60% (technically -60%). With this example I can simply add or subtract to understand it (100-60=40 or 40+60=100)

Issue: Here is what I don't understand. The percentage difference between 17.5% and 14.6%.
Same Math: 17.5% - 14.6% = 2.9% / 17.5% = 0.165 * 100 = 16.5% (or -16.5%)

How is there a 16.5% difference? To me, the difference is 2.9 but I know that isnt correct.
I've even gone to online "auto fill" calculators that show me the same result.

Can someone help explain why the percentage difference between 17.5% and 14.6% is 16.5%?

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#### RoryA

##### MrExcel MVP, Moderator
The value of the difference is indeed 2.9% but that 2.9% equates to 16.5% of the original 17.5% value. Ignore the fact that the numbers you are dealing with are percentages as that is actually irrelevant to the problem. If it were the percentage difference between 17.5 and 14.6, the answer would still be 2.9/17.5 which is 16.5%.

#### KuraiChikara

##### Board Regular
That helps a bit thank you. What I can easily understand is, what is the percentage value compared to the original.
As you pointed out, 17.5 apples -14.6 apples = 2.9 apples (this is the value difference); but 2.9 apples is 16.5% of the original 17.5 bunch.

I think I kept getting stuck at two main percentage processes:
1: Total difference between numbers as in 17.5 apples - 14.6 apples; what percent of apples were taken; 14.6 apples being taken away from 17.5 apples is about 83% of the apples being lost.
2: Percentage change 17.5 apples - 14.6 apples = 2.9 apples left / 17.5 apples = 2.9 apples left is 16.5% of the original 17.5 apples.

Thank you for explaining

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