## The Difference Between: Absolute, Basis Point, Multiple, Percent, and Percentage Point Change

​There’s a lot of ways to articulate the amount of change between two or more numbers. Very often an explanation can be interpreted in more than one way, and/or hide important elements of truly how much something has changed. Unfortunately there is no one right answer, but we do think there is an answer - and it’s to use all metrics of change, all of the time. In doubt, better to give too much information than less.

Pros vs. Cons
There's more than just one "pro" and "con" for each change metric, but below represents a simplified perspective:

Metric Pro Con
Absolute Understood, and wanted by most people Not normalized against a baseline (e.g. +\$10k is great if you start at \$10, but not so much if you start at \$10bn)
Basis Point Easy to articulate a small amount of change Confusing for most people (1 Basis Point = .01 Percentage Points, thus 100 Basis Points = 1 Percentage Point)
Multiple Arguably the most concise way to articulate change Not interpreted equally by most people (e.g. 200% = 3x, not 2x)
Percent Normalized against a baseline (Dividing by "Start Figure") Starting with a small baseline can create a deceiving perception (e.g. \$1 to \$20 = 1,900%)
Percentage Point Understood, and wanted by most people Easy to disguise large "Percent" movements (e.g. 2% to 4% = 2 Percentage Points, but 100 Percent)

Formulas
​Below is a table that shows exactly how to calculate each change metric for percentages (% to %) and real numbers (# to #). Take note that Basis Point and Percentage Point apply solely to percentages, and that dealing with percentages are always a bit easier when converted to decimal form (at least we think so):

Metric Formula: % to % Formula: # to # Formula Appendix
Absolute See: "Percentage Point" End Figure - Start Figure -
Basis Point (End Figure - Start Figure) * 10,000 NA Convert %'s to real numbers. Add "BPs" at the end
Multiple End Figure / Start Figure End Figure / Start Figure Convert %'s to real numbers. Add "x" at end
Percent (End Figure - Start Figure) / Start Figure * 100 (End Figure - Start Figure) / Start Figure Convert %'s to real numbers. Add "%" at the end
Percentage Point (End Figure - Start Figure) * 100 NA Convert %'s to real numbers. Add "PPs" at the end

% to % Examples
Below are a few examples showing the results for measuring change between percentages. Each percentage is first converted to decimal form. The first and last row show the entire formula.

Start Figure End Figure Absolute Basis Point (BP) Multiple Percent Percentage Point (PP)
3% -1% See: "PP" (-.01 - .03) * 10,000 = -400 BPs -.01 / .03 = -0.33x (-.01 - .03) / .03 = -133.33% -.01 - .03 = -4 PPs
3% 1.25% See: "PP" -175 BPs 0.42x -58.33% -1.75 PPs
3% 3.35% See: "PP" 35 BPs 1.12x 11.67% .35 PPs
3% 5.25% See: "PP" 225 BPs 1.75x 75% 2.25 PPs
3% 120.15% See: "PP" (1.2015 - .03) * 10,000 = 11,715 BPs 1.2015 / .03 = 40.05x (1.2015 - .03) / .03 = 3,905% 1.2015 - .03 = 117.15 PPs

# to # Examples
Below are a few examples showing the results for measuring change between real numbers. The first and last row show the entire formula.

Start Figure End Figure Absolute Basis Points (BPs) Multiple Percent Percentage Points (PPs)
\$1,000 -\$500 -500 - 1,000 = -1,500 NA -500 / 1,000 = -0.5x (-500 - 1,000) / 1,000 = -150% NA
\$1,000 \$350 -650 NA 0.35x -65% NA
\$1,000 \$1,200 200 NA 1.2x 20% NA
\$1,000 \$3,500 2,500 NA 3.5x 250% NA
\$1,000 \$27,500 27,500 - 1,000 = 26,500 NA 27,500 / 1,000 = 27.5x 2,650% NA