How to Calculate Percent Difference: A Beginner’s Guide


Understanding percent difference is an important skill for everyone to possess. Whether you’re an investor, a salesperson, or someone who enjoys analyzing data, being able to calculate percent difference can provide valuable insights into trends and changes. In this article, we’ll break down what percent difference is, how to calculate it, and provide real-life examples of how it is used.

What is Percent Difference?

Percent difference is a mathematical concept that helps compare two quantities or values. It is used to determine the percentage difference between two numbers or values, and is widely used in the fields of science, engineering, and finance.

This concept is important in daily life because it allows individuals to analyze trends and changes over a period of time. For example, percent difference can be used to calculate the change in prices over a period of time, the progression of a disease, or the difference in performance between two athletes.

A Step-by-step Guide to Calculating Percent Difference

To calculate percent difference, you need to follow a simple formula:

Percent Difference = (Absolute Value of (Value A – Value B) ÷ ((Value A + Value B) ÷ 2)) x 100%

Step 1: Find the absolute value of the difference between Value A and Value B

Step 2: Find the average of Value A and Value B

Step 3: Divide the absolute difference by the average value of the two numbers

Step 4: Multiply the result by 100

Real-life Scenario: Calculating Percent Difference in the Stock Market

Investors often use percent difference to analyze stock market trends. For example, an investor may want to compare the stock prices of two different companies in the same industry to determine which one is performing better.

Let’s say the stock price of Company A is $100 and its stock price increased to $120. At the same time, the stock price of Company B was $80 and it increased to $100.

Using the percent difference formula, we can calculate:

Percent Difference = (Absolute Value of ($120 – $100) ÷ (($120 + $100) ÷ 2)) x 100%

Percent Difference = (20 ÷ 110) x 100% = 18.18%

Percent Difference = (Absolute Value of ($100 – $80) ÷ (($100 + $80) ÷ 2)) x 100%

Percent Difference = (20 ÷ 90) x 100% = 22.22%

By calculating the percent difference, the investor can determine which stock had a larger increase and determine which company is performing better.

Incorporating Visuals

Visuals can make concepts easier to understand. Incorporating diagrams and visually appealing graphics can help readers better understand the concept of percent difference. For example, using a line graph to show the change in stock prices or a pie chart to compare sales data can help readers see the changes in a more visual way.

Relatable Examples

Let’s take a look at some everyday scenarios where percent difference is used:

  • Price Change: Calculating the percent difference between the initial price and the new price of a product
  • Sports Statistics: Comparing the performance of two athletes or teams over a period of time
  • Weather Patterns: Determining the difference in temperature or rainfall between two years

Tips for Calculating Percent Difference

Here are some tips to help you quickly and easily calculate percent difference:

  • Use a calculator to ensure accuracy
  • Find the absolute value of the difference between the two values
  • Divide the absolute value by the average of the two values
  • Multiply the result by 100% to get the percentage difference
  • Practice! The more you work with the formula, the easier it will become


Calculating percent difference is a useful tool that can provide valuable insights to a variety of people in different industries. By following these simple steps, you can quickly and easily calculate the percent difference between two values. Understanding this concept is important in helping you better analyze trends and changes in your daily life.

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