Succeed with maths – Part 1
Succeed with maths – Part 1

Start this free course now. Just create an account and sign in. Enrol and complete the course for a free statement of participation or digital badge if available.

Free course

Succeed with maths – Part 1

1 Using percentages

At the end of Week 5 you were calculating percentages from different sets of information – for example, you worked out what percentage of children in a group preferred to visit the zoo. This week, you’re going to start by trying a refresher activity before moving onto some new ideas.

You will definitely find a calculator useful for Activity 1, which involves population figures.

Activity 1 Writing one number as a percentage of another

Timing: Allow approximately 10 minutes
  • a.In 2012, the population of the European Union was about 503 663 601, and the total population of the United Kingdom was about 62 989 551. What was the population of the UK as a percentage of the total population of the European Union?

    If you need a hint, remember to click on the ‘Reveal comment’ button.

Comment

To find the percentage, you write the numbers as a fraction and multiply by 100.

Answer

First write the two numbers as a fraction:

62 989 551 divided by 503 663 601

Then multiply by 100, to give:

62 989 551 divided by 503 663 601 multiplication 100 equals 12.5 percent

The answer is rounded to 1 decimal place. By necessity, population figures are estimates – so showing the answer any more accurately would not make sense in this case.

Rounded to 1 decimal place, the population of the UK was 12.5 per cent of the total population of the European Union in 2012.

  • b.Now looking at a smaller member state – Luxembourg, which had a population of around 524 853 in 2012. Find the population of Luxembourg as a percentage of the total population of the European Union, rounding your answer to 1 decimal place again.

Answer

Population percentage = 524 853 divided by 503 663 601 multiplication 100 equals 0.1 percent

The population of Luxembourg, rounded to 1 decimal place, was about 0.1 per cent of the total population of the European Union in 2012.

Hopefully, you felt confident from your practice last week in completing this refresher activity. If it proved slightly more challenging, you may find it useful to look back at Section 3 'What percentage is it?' in Week 5 [Tip: hold Ctrl and click a link to open it in a new tab. (Hide tip)] .

Another way that you will often see a percentage used is when saying what a certain percentage of a number is: for example, being advised when going on holiday that 10 per cent of the cost of a flight is a fuel surcharge, or that 15 per cent of a group of people having a preference for a certain food type. In the next section, you’ll look at how to use this information to find the actual numbers involved. Again, you should recognise some of these techniques from Week 5.

Skip Your course resources
SWMB_1

Take your learning further

Making the decision to study can be a big step, which is why you'll want a trusted University. The Open University has 50 years’ experience delivering flexible learning and 170,000 students are studying with us right now. Take a look at all Open University courses.

If you are new to University-level study, we offer two introductory routes to our qualifications. You could either choose to start with an Access module, or a module which allows you to count your previous learning towards an Open University qualification. Read our guide on Where to take your learning next for more information.

Not ready for formal University study? Then browse over 1000 free courses on OpenLearn and sign up to our newsletter to hear about new free courses as they are released.

Every year, thousands of students decide to study with The Open University. With over 120 qualifications, we’ve got the right course for you.

Request an Open University prospectus371