How to talk about percentages in Spanish

Learn how to talk about percentages in Spanish

In Spanish, we express the percentage of a number with the "%" symbol and when we write it out as words we write and say "por ciento".

Have a look at the following examples:

El 50 % de la población votó en contra.50% of the population voted against.

El 50 por ciento de la población votó en contra.50 percent of the population voted against.

Some things to consider:

When referring to a number above 10, it is recommended to write the numeral in digits (rather than writing it out as words), i.e. el 15 por ciento, el 90 por ciento (i.e. preferable to writing el quince por ciento, el noventa por ciento...)

We can also use "por cien", but only when we are talking about the totality, i.e. 100%, for example:

El 100 por cien de la población votó en contra.100 percent of the population voted against.

Spanish needs the article el or un before the percentage when we are talking about "a percentage of something". Be careful not to omit it in Spanish as you sometimes do in English:

La tienda está ofreciendo un 15 por ciento de descuento en todos sus productos.The shop is offering a 15 percent discount in all its products.

El 80 por ciento de los ciudadanos quería un nuevo alcalde.80 percent of the citizens wanted a new mayor.

However, you don't always need the articles though in certain phrases where you are not expressing a percentage of something. For example:

Vendemos productos cien por ciento naturales.We sell products [which are] 100% natural.

Van a construir un hotel cien por cien ecológico.They're going to build a hotel [that's] 100% eco-friendly.

Estoy seguro al ciento por ciento.I am 100% sure.

Yo soy cien por cien española.I am 100% Spanish.

Also bear in mind that in Spanish it's recommended to leave a space between the numeral and the "%" symbol, for example:

el 40 % 

is preferred to:

el 40% 
Remember to always write "por ciento" and "por cien" separately, not as a single word "porciento", "porcien".

 

 

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Examples and resources

Estoy seguro al ciento por ciento.I am 100% sure.
Van a construir un hotel cien por cien ecológico.They're going to build a hotel [that's] 100% eco-friendly.
El 50 % de la población votó en contra.50% of the population voted against.
El 50 por ciento de la población votó en contra.50 percent of the population voted against.
Ese pastel tiene al menos un 40 % de azúcar.That cake has at least a 40% of sugar.
La tienda está ofreciendo un 15 por ciento de descuento en todos sus productos.The shop is offering a 15 percent discount in all its products.
Vendemos productos cien por ciento naturales.We sell products [which are] 100% natural.
El 100 por cien de la población votó en contra.100 percent of the population voted against.
Yo soy cien por cien española.I am 100% Spanish.
El 80 por ciento de los ciudadanos quería un nuevo alcalde.80 percent of the citizens wanted a new mayor.
Let me take a look at that...