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A ratio is the amount of one quantity compared to another quantity, or, in simpler terms, one quantity divided by another. Ratios are written with a colon (the : symbol).

When two ratios are equal, they are a proportion.

All prices of goods and services are ratios.

Example of a ratio

  • Texas is approximately 16 times the size of the Netherlands. Thus the ratio of the size of Texas to the Netherlands would be 16 to 1, written as 16:1.
  • A wage rate of $10 per hour is expressed as 10:1.
  • If gold sells for $1500 per ounce, and silver sells for $25 per ounce, it costs approximately 60 ounces of silver to purchase one ounce of gold, or a ratio of 60:1.
  • If the ratio fell to 40:1, gold would become cheap, and silver would become dear.