Solving Applications of Proportions

Read this text which discusses real-world examples of how proportions are used. Complete the practice problems and check your answers. These examples are word problems that use proportions.

Solve Applications Using Proportions

The strategy for solving applications that we have used earlier in this chapter, also works for proportions, since proportions are equations. When we set up the proportion, we must make sure the units are correct - the units in the numerators match, and the units in the denominators match.

Write Percent Equations As Proportions

Previously, we solved percent equations by applying the properties of equality we have used to solve equations throughout this text. Some people prefer to solve percent equations by using the proportion method. The proportion method for solving percent problems involves a percent proportion. A percent proportion is an equation where a percent is equal to an equivalent ratio.

For example, 60 \%=\dfrac{60}{100} and we can simplify \dfrac{60}{100}=\dfrac{3}{5}. Since the equation \dfrac{60}{100}=\dfrac{3}{5} shows a percent equal to an equivalent ratio, we call it a percent proportion. Using the vocabulary we used earlier:

\dfrac{\text { amount }}{\text { base }} &=\dfrac{\text { percent }}{100} \\
\dfrac{3}{5} &=\dfrac{60}{100}


The amount is to the base as the percent is to 100.

\dfrac{\text { amount }}{\text { base }}=\dfrac{\text { percent }}{100}

If we restate the problem in the words of a proportion, it may be easier to set up the proportion:

\text{The amount is to the base as the percent is to one hundred.}

We could also say:

\text{The amount out of the base is the same as the percent out of one hundred.}

First we will practice translating into a percent proportion. Later, we'll solve the proportion.

Translate and Solve Percent Proportions

Now that we have written percent equations as proportions, we are ready to solve the equations.

When the percent is more than 100, which is more than one whole, the unknown number will be more than the base.

Percents with decimals and money are also used in proportions.

Source: Rice University,
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