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Difference Between Rate and Ratio

Rate vs Ratio

In the study of mathematics, statistics, and business, one encounters such terms as “rate” and “ratio.” While they may both refer to the relationship between two or more things or numbers, they are very different from each other.

“Rate” is defined as the amount, quantity, or frequency by which a certain event or occurrence happens usually expressed as the number of times that it happens for every thousand of the total population that is being considered or studied. It refers to a comparison between two measurements of different units. It signifies how long it takes to accomplish something such as the distance per unit time (example: 40 miles/hour). This is the rate of speed by which you travel, 40 miles in 1 hour.

It may not only be used in measuring per unit time but also in measuring per unit mass or length. The word “per” is used to divide the two measurements which are applied to compute the rate. Rates are usually used in physics and chemistry as well as in business and finance.

“Ratio,” on the other hand, is defined as the relationship between the number, size, amount, or degree of two or more similar things or quantities which is indicated by the quotient of one thing or quantity divided by the other. It is the proportion of one thing to another. It is a comparison of numbers with the same units. It explains the correlation of one thing to another. It may apply to persons, things, or units. An example is this; “Romy has three mangoes while Edgar has six.” The ratio of Romy’s mangoes to Edgar’s is 3:6. It can also be expressed as 3 to 6, ½ or .5.

While a rate only refers to the fixed quantity of two things, a ratio refers to the relationship between several things. A rate also refers to the changes in measurements or units while a ratio also refers to the difference between things.

Other examples:
“Sarah has five chocolate bars, and she can eat all of them in one minute. Joan has ten chocolate bars, and she can eat all of them in one minute.” The rate by which Sarah eats her chocolate bars is
5 bars/minute; Joan’s rate is 10 bars/minute. The ratio between Sarah’s chocolate bars to Joan’s is 5:10.

Summary:

1.A rate refers to the frequency by which a certain event happens while a ratio refers to the relationship between the size, number, or degree of two or more things.
2.A rate is a comparison between two measurements of the same units while a ratio is the proportion of one thing to another.
3.A rate refers to the fixed quantity of two things while a ratio refers to the relationship between various things.
4.A ratio indicates the difference between things while a rate indicates the changes in their measurements or units.
5.A ratio is indicated by the quotient of one quantity divided by the other while a rate is indicated by the comparison between two things.


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2 Comments

  1. I enjoyed the your review of rate and ratio. I believe there may be an error in #2 of your summary.
    “2.A rate is a comparison between two measurements of the same units while a ratio is the proportion of one thing to another

    I believe “same units” should read “different” units for rate. Please correct me if I’m wrong. Also, I’m not sure you are using the word proportion correctly as that would imply setting a ratio equal to another one.

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