8.2 Ratios

The media reports: “One in three people rejects technology such as computers and mobile phones.”

Alternatively, you could say “For every one person who rejects technology, there are two people who embrace it.” Mathematically, we say, “The ratio of people who reject technology to those who embrace technology is one to two.” This ratio could be written as one divided by two, or in colon notation as 1:2. Ratios provide another way to convey information.

Let’s consider the following example. Baseball is America’s pastime. In 2008, the L.A. Dodgers won the division title in the National League West. They won 84 games and lost 78. What is the ratio of wins to losses for the L.A. Dodgers?

The ratio of wins to losses can be set up as a fraction, placing the wins in the numerator (top of fraction) and the losses in the denominator (bottom of fraction). We have 84 wins over 78 losses, or 84 divided by 78. Although most major leaguers would just report the ratio as is, let’s use our fraction knowledge to reduce it: equation sequence 84 times 42 divided by 78 times 39 equals 42 times 14 divided by 39 times 13 equals 14 divided by 13. Thus, the ratio of wins to losses is 14 to 13. Go, Dodgers!

Key Points

A ratio is the quotient (division) of two values and can be expressed in fraction or colon notation.

8.1.21 Working Backwards

8.2.1 Salad Dressing Recipe