What is Proportion?

Proportion is the relationship between two similar things. It is often used to describe how one thing relates to another in terms of size, quantity, or degree. For example, if you have a pizza that is 10 inches in diameter and you want to cut it into eight pieces, you would use proportion to figure out how big each piece should be. In this case, you would cut the pizza into eight pieces, each 1.25 inches wide.1

Proportion can also be used to draw comparisons between things that are not similar in size or quantity. For example, if you want to know what percent of your salary you should save each month, you would use proportion to figure out the answer. In this case, you would compare your monthly salary to your savings goal. Proportion is a useful tool for comparing two things and understanding the relationship between them.

Application of Proportion in Solving Real-Life Problems

In many everyday situations, we need to solve proportionality problems. 

For example, imagine you want to bake a cake for 10 people. However, your recipe is for a cake for six people. How much of each ingredient do you need to use? This is a proportionality problem, which can be solved using a ratio. 

First, we convert the serving size into a fraction of the total recipe. 10 people need two-thirds of the recipe, while six people need half of the recipe. This means that the desired amount of each ingredient is two-thirds of the original amount. So, if you need one cup of sugar for the recipe, you would need to use a two-thirds cup of sugar. In this way, proportionality problems can be solved by finding equivalent ratios.

How to Use Proportion to Solve a Word Problem?

Proportion is a way of comparing two ratios to see if they are equal. If they are, then the two ratios are proportional. You can use this idea of proportionality to solve many types of word problems.2 Let’s say you’re trying to find out how long it will take you to mow the lawn if it takes you 30 minutes to mow a quarter of an acre. To solve this problem, you would set up a proportion using the known ratio (30 minutes for one-fourth acre) and the unknown ratio (x minutes for one acre). This would give you the equation 30/x=1/4. To solve for x, you would multiply both sides by 4, giving you 120=1x. This would mean that it would take you 120 minutes, or 2 hours, to mow 1 acre of land. As you can see, proportion can be a very useful tool for solving word problems. Just be sure to set up your equation carefully and solve it systematically.

How can Proportion be Used in Business?

Businesses use proportion in math all the time. For example, when a company is trying to increase sales, they might use proportions to figure out how many people need to be exposed to their product for them to make more sales. They might also use proportions when they’re trying to figure out how much raw material they need to create a certain number of finished products. In short, proportion is a very important tool that businesses use to make sure that they’re using resources efficiently and effectively.

How can Proportion be Used in the Medical Field?3

In the medical field, it is often necessary to calculate proportions to ensure that patients receive the correct dosages of medication. For example, when a patient is prescribed a certain amount of medication, it is important to consider their weight to determine the correct dosage. This can be done by using a proportion: first, the weight of the patient is divided by the standard weight (such as 150 lbs.), and then this number is multiplied by the standard dosage. This ensures that patients receive the correct amount of medication, regardless of their weight. In addition, proportions can also be used to calculate how much of a certain medication needs to be mixed with another substance, such as water or saline solution. By using proportions, medical professionals can ensure that patients receive the correct dosages of medication, every time.

What is the Most Difficult Part About Working With Proportions?

Working with proportions can be challenging for several reasons. First, it can be difficult to visualize proportions when they are expressed as numbers. For instance, if you read that a recipe needs half a cup of sugar, you may not be able to figure out how much that is. Second, it can be tricky to adjust proportions when substituting ingredients. Imagine that a recipe requires half a cup of milk, but you only have one-fourth. How many other ingredients do you need to use to make up the difference? 

Finally, even when you are using the same ingredients in the same quantities, it can be difficult to achieve consistent results when working with proportions. This is because even slight variations in ingredient amounts can significantly change the final product. As a result, working with proportions requires careful planning and attention to detail to achieve the desired results.

We hope the blog helps you understand the use of math in your daily life. If you want to learn more about math and the different branches of math, you must consider reading BYJU’s FutureSchool Blog


  1. How To Cut A Pizza Into 6, 8, 10, or 12 Slices | Generation Ready. (2022, August 15). How To Cut A Pizza Into 6, 8, 10, or 12 Slices | Generation Ready. Retrieved November 15, 2022, from https://foodsguy.com/how-to-cut-pizza-slices/
  2. 7 Ways to Solve Proportions | Generation Ready. (2021, November 9). 7 Ways to Solve Proportions | Generation Ready. Retrieved November 15, 2022, from https://www.wikihow.com/Solve-Proportions
  3. Dose Calculation Ratio and Proportion Method – StatPearls – NCBI Bookshelf. (2022). Retrieved December 5, 2022, from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK499884/

About the Author

More than just Coding and Math! Our proprietary, activity-based curriculum with live, real-time instruction facilitates: Problem Solving. Creative Thinking. Grit. Confidence. Communication