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Difference between Percent, Percentage and Percentage point

Percent is specific and is usually used with a number.

  • They expect to reduce their workforce by 15 percent.

Percentage is not specific and is never used with a number.

  • The reduction affects a small percentage of engineers.

Note: Percent should be spelled as one word (not per cent). Also, percent is becoming accepted without a number by it.

  • What percent of your workday is spent in meetings?

Percentage point is the correct phrase when referring to a change in a figure that is already a percentage. One percentage point is always 1/100th of the total.

  • The President’s approval rating fell from 43 percent to 40 percent, a drop of three percentage points (not 3 percent).