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Percent Increase: Definition & Formula Video

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  • 0:00 What Is a Percent Increase?
  • 1:09 How to Calculate a…
  • 1:46 Example Problems
  • 4:32 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Joshua White

Josh has worked as a high school math teacher for seven years and has undergraduate degrees in Applied Mathematics (BS) & Economics/Physics (BA).

This lesson will examine how to find the percent increase between two values. It will look at finding the percent increase between both numbers and percentages.

What Is a Percent Increase?

When comparing how much a value has increased over time, you would first find the difference between the initial and final values by subtracting them to find the exact amount of the increase. For example, during the winter of 2012-13, New York City received 26.1 total inches of snow, while in the winter of 2013-14, it received 54 total inches of snow. Thus, the amount of snow it received increased by 27.9 inches from one winter to the next. However, knowing just the value of the increase doesn't tell us much since the relative scale of the increase isn't known. In other words, is receiving 28 more inches of snow in one year than the previous year a large increase or a small one? Knowing the size of the increase compared to the initial value is more important because it allows you to determine the relative scale of the increase. This is essentially what percent increase is. The percent increase between two values is the difference between a final value and an initial value, expressed as a percentage of the initial value.

How to Calculate Percent Increase

To the find the percent increase, first subtract the initial value from the final value. Then take the difference and divide it by the initial value. Finally, multiply this number by 100% to convert the number to a percentage. This final result will represent the percent increase between the two values.

Percent Increase formula

It's important to keep in mind that you can find the percent increase between both two numbers and two percentages as the calculation is done the same way with percentages. In other words, even if the initial and final values are percentages, you will still follow the same steps to calculate the percent increase between them.

Example Problems

Let's go back and look at the New York City snowfall totals again. In the first winter, it was 26.1 inches, and in the second winter it was 54 inches. We already calculated the difference as 27.9 inches. To find the percent increase, we divide the difference of 27.9 inches by the initial value of 26.1 inches. This yields 1.0689655, or 1.069 when rounded off. Finally, multiply this number by 100% to get the percent increase of 106.9%. Thus, the amount of snow in New York City increased by roughly 107% from 2012-13 to 2013-14, which is a very large increase as evidenced by the total more than doubling.

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