Should I use a hyphen between a number and percent? Two examples:

  1. Which is right: fifty percent increase or fifty-percent increase?

  2. The population of the city was second highest with 13.5-percent share to the total population of the province.

    Is it okay to put a hyphen between 13.5 and percent?

  • Your second example seems ungrammatical to me (which makes it impossible to say something about correct punctuation).
    – Wrzlprmft
    Commented Jan 24, 2017 at 9:07
  • We talk of the percentage share of the total, not to the total. to would only be used when referring to a contribution, e.g. "The city contributed 13.5 % to the total population."
    – Barmar
    Commented Jan 25, 2017 at 20:27
  • 1
    I think it could be written with or without the hyphen.
    – Barmar
    Commented Jan 25, 2017 at 20:28

1 Answer 1


The Chicago Manual of Style Online (CMOS 17) has a "Hyphenation Table" that says "number + percent" should always be written open (although if the numbers cover a range, an n-dash would be used between them). The examples given are "50 percent", "a 10 percent raise", and "a 30–40 percent increase". Based on that, it seems like according to CMOS style, you should write "a fifty percent increase" (or "a 50 percent increase": none of their examples shows percentages being spelled out, but I assume that wouldn't make a difference to the hyphenation).

I don't know if other style guides make different choices about this. The rule is also given in the sixteenth edition of CMOS.

As Wrzlprmft and Barmar mentioned, the second sentence is badly written so it's hard to say how it should be punctuated.

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