Difference Between Percentage and Percentile (With Table)

Percentage vs Percentile

Percentage and percentile may seem to mean the same, but they are strikingly different.

It is clear in our minds that both terms relate to mathematics and solve math-related questions.

A percentage is a mathematics quantity while percentile is defined by the percentage value under a ranking system.

The key difference in percentage and percentile lies in the fact that percentage can have quartiles while the percentile doesn’t have quartiles. Another aspect is that the percentage is always shown on a value of 100.

Percentile shows the value of that percentage on a given ranking of a set group.

Percentage directly presents the data of numbers based on the division of 100 and gives out information on ratio, decimal, and proportions.

The percentile is relative to statistical usage to denote a comparison of many percentages based on an amount, set of people or a trend.


Comparison Table Between Percentage and Percentile (in Tabular Form)

Parameters of ComparisonPercentagePercentile
MeaningBased on one caseBased on a comparison of many cases
DistributionNot connected with any distribution among peopleRest on the normal distribution of people
Position Value position out of 100Found below the value of the percentage
Rank NoYes
Ratio YesNo


What is meant by Percentage?

A percentage can be understood through the use of denominators in order to calculate mathematical value systems of 100. The percentage is denoted by the use of a% symbol.

A percentage is important to standardize different quantities, marks, numbers, ratios, and proportions. Also, the percentage can be written in faction or decimals.

Example: if a student has scored 68 marks out of a score of 100 the student has got 68% marks in their math’s exam.

Check HERE on how the percentage is calculated.

How percentage is calculated
How the percentage is calculated

What is meant by Percentile?

Percentile is a concept that has its bases on the percentage understanding.  It is important to know the scoring of percentiles.  A percentile simple tells you how many people are at your score or below you.

A percentile is the percentage of values found. These values are often used in a ranking system. The values are further divided into the normal distribution of values.  Percentile cannot be shown as decimals as the ranking system doesn’t permit that.

For example, there are 40 students who appeared for an example including you. You secured 4th rank in that exam.  So there are 36 behind you.  Now say you are equal to the score of the 36 as well.

Hence, 36/40*100 – Your percentile is 90th

Sample percentile score
Sample percentile score

Main Differences Between Percentage and Percentile

Meaning and Distribution

A percentage is a measurement tool that calculates numbers out of 100.

Percentile is the mathematical value of percentage in order to find out the number value scored above or below a percentage

The distribution of a percent is very specific to one person and unique to them and cannot be evenly distributed in the masses.

The percentile is a comparison of various percentages in a given situation in a setting.

Hence a percentile can be said to be distributed among people while the percentage is not.

Difference Between Paradigm and Theory (with Table)

Rank and Symbol

The percentage symbol is quite easy to know and note. We work hard to get good percentages for our exams. Well, a percentage figure or number is denoted as ‘%’.

There is no particular symbol as such for connoting percentile, but it is denoted by a value noted.  Like the depiction of a percentile would be something like nth.

Here ‘n’ is any number rank of a percentile.

For example, if a student received 80th percentile as per the ranking that means there were 80% of students who received less than 80 percent of marks.

The percentage doesn’t have any ranks and they deal with the factual mathematical numerical data.

Ratio and Decimal

A percentage can have decimals and for sure has a ratio to come to derive to an answer.

Rank cannot be 1.4 or 1.5. We cannot say that I stood, 1.7 in my class.

The percentile would be either 1st or 2nd, right?

To give an example, we can easily derive a percentage of marks we got but we cannot weigh that marks received.

But at the same time; all the marks received in the class by all students can be weighed on the percentile ranking.

This will give out your rank too based on the students who scored the same as you or below you.

Quartiles and Position

The percentage does not deal with Quartiles.  Quartiles are similar to what implies when we say a quarter.

For example, 25th Percentile is called the first quartile, the 50th is called the second quartile, 75th is the third quartile and 100th is the fourth quartile.

The percentage is specific to one mathematical value that is unique to a person.

Percentile takes the aggregate of an entire group of people. Hence, the position of percentage is always out of 100.

The position of the percentile is found on or below the score received vis a vis a well-distributed group.


Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) About Percentage and Percentile

  1. What is the percentile in simple words?

    In the simplest words, a percentile refers to the number of people of any units which are below your particular score.

    Understanding this with a simple example:
    If a person scores 96 percentile in the CAT exam, then this means that he has scored more than 96% of the total applicants and is below only 4% of the applicants.

  2. Can percentile be less than percent?

    Yes, percentile can definitely be less than the percentage. We can understand this with an example: Suppose in a test out of 100 marks you score 91.

    So the percentage is 91%. But 100 people appeared for the test and your score is less than 12 people. So, your percentile will be 88.

  3. Is 100 percentiles possible?

    100 percentile is theoretically not possible.

    For example, A person is appearing in an exam in which the total candidates are 3 lakhs. He scores 8th rank in that exam.

    This means that his percentile is around 99.99998 which is approximately equal to 100 percentiles. So, in real life every year, around 8 to 10 people get 100 percentiles in the CAT exam.

  4. Can you convert percentile to a percentage?

    The formula to calculate the percentage is (your marks/total marks) x100. Suppose a person scored 98 percentile in an exam. But, his score was 78 out of 100.

    So his percentage is 78% and the percentile is 98. Here, we have to understand that percentage is calculated only for one person but percentile is a relative score which depends on the other candidates.

  5. Is there a 0 percentile?

    To achieve 0 percentile and 100 percentiles is almost impossible. This is because in order to get the 0 percentile you have to perform below than your own performance, which is impossible.

    Also for the 100 percentile, you cannot perform better than yourself. So this is also impossible. So, there is no such thing as 0 and 100 percentile theoretically.

  6. Can a percentile be negative?

    For getting the 0 percentile you have to perform below than your own performance. This fact is impossible to happen.

    Thus, if a person is not able to get zero percentile, then the fact that the percentile can be negative is completely out of the picture. So we can’t have a negative percentile.

  7. Is the 50th percentile the median?

    The median is a term that is used to describe a number that lies exactly in the middle of a class or a range. The term 50th percentile means that exactly 50 people out of 100 are above him and 50 are below him. Thus, the 50th percentile is the median for that group or class of people.

Difference Between Undefined and Zero Slope (with Table)



A percentile separates an entire population into subsets wherein the meaning of numbers can be applied to a population. Hence it is correct to say that percentile is a concept based on a percentage.

Reiterating, it is important to remember that a percentage gives a fraction while percentile denotes a quartile.

Lastly, a percentile is a part of a percentage that can be applied in a given distribution to find out how many values are below a mathematical value system (number).

Most importantly, a percentage will tell you how you faired in an exam while the percentile will tell you how well you faired among your peers.

The percentage is quantity and percentile is the quantification.


Word Cloud for Difference Between Percentage and Percentile

The following is a collection of the most used terms in this article on Percentage and Percentile. This should help in recalling related terms as used in this article at a later stage for you.

Percentage and Percentile
Word Cloud for Percentage and Percentile.



  1. https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1046/j.1328-8067.2001.01523.x
  2. https://academic.oup.com/biomet/article-abstract/58/2/349/263683