Dr. Math FAQ 
Classic Problems 
Formulas 
Search Dr. Math 
Dr. Math Home
How do you round a number to the nearest tenth (10th), hundredth (100th), thousandth (1000th), etc.?Here are two explanations from the Elementary Fractions and Decimals area of our archives, followed by links to more information:
Rounding Decimals The first thing to know about rounding decimals is that it works exactly like rounding whole numbers. To round to the nearest tenth, you do the same thing you do to round to the nearest ten, except that you are working with a different digit in the number. I can use the same picture to explain both:   X> +++++++++++ 140 141 142 143 144 145 146 147 148 149 150 This shows that 148 is between 140 and 150, and is closer to 150 because it's bigger than 145. The next picture shows that 1.48 is between 1.40 and 1.50, and is closer to 1.50 because it is bigger than 1.45:   X> +++++++++++ 1.40 1.41 1.42 1.43 1.44 1.45 1.46 1.47 1.48 1.49 1.50 To round to the nearest ten, you drop all digits to the right of the tens place, replacing them with zero, so that you are left with a multiple of 10. Then you check to see whether your original number is actually nearer to the next multiple of 10, by checking whether the next digit (the leftmost one you dropped) was 5 or more: 148 rounded to nearest 10: \  \ replace 8 with 0 V \ 140 8 is greater than 5, so add 10:   V 150 What all this means is that 148 is between 140 and 150, but is closer to 150 so we round it to that. Now, to round to the nearest tenth, you do the same thing, but using the tenths digit rather than the tens: 1.48 rounded to nearest 0.1: \  \ replace 8 with 0 V \ 1.40 8 is greater than 5, so add 0.1:   V 1.50 Again, this means that 1.48 is between 1.4 and 1.5, but is closer to 1.5. If the number had been 1.45, exactly between the two, you would still round up to 1.5. If it were 1.43, you would have rounded down, leaving it at 1.40, because 3 is less than 5. The only real difference is that when you put zeroes to the right of a decimal, you can ignore them completely because they don't affect the number. So you can write the answer as 1.5 rather than 1.50.  Doctor Peterson, The Math Forum Rounding to the Nearest... We always want to keep two things in mind when we round any number. The first is what we are rounding to. In your example we are rounding to tenths, so we should end up with one digit to the right of the decimal point, because that is the tenths place. Now immediately you can see that 451 is not an acceptable answer, but 451.7 or 451.8 could be. The second thing to keep in mind is the method we are using to round by. In your problem that is the nearest method. In the nearest method we look at the digit to the immediate right of the digit we will round to (so for this example we will look at the hundredths digit), and if it is a five or greater (5 through 9) we round up (add 1 to the digit we are rounding and drop all the digits to the right). If the digit to the right of our rounding digit is less than 5 (0 through 4) we round down (drop all digits to the right of digit we are rounding). So for our example: number to be rounded to nearest tenth 451.7576 number to the right of the tenths digit 5 since the number is a 5 we round up 451.8 so our answer is 451.8 What if we had 451.7476 instead? number to be rounded to nearest tenth 451.7476 number to the right of the tenths digit 4 since the number is a 4 we round down 451.7 so our answer is 451.7 How about rounding 451.7576 to the nearest hundredth? number to be rounded to nearest hundredth 451.7576 number to the right of the hundredths digit 7 since the number is a 7 we round up 451.76 so our answer is 451.76 Now you try: (solutions below) a) round 72.3478 to the nearest tenth b) round 15.4201 to the nearest tenth c) round 5.74999 to the nearest tenth d) round 87.5555 to the nearest hundredth I hope this is a bit clearer now. If anything was not clear in my explanation, just write back noting what was confusing, and I will try to make it clearer. To check your work, here are the answers to the questions above: a) 72.3 b) 15.4 c) 5.7 d) 87.56 . I hope that you have more fun in class! Good luck, Doctor Keith, The Math Forum More from the Dr. Math archives:
On the Web:

[Privacy Policy] [Terms of Use]
Math Forum Home 
Math Library 
Quick Reference 
Math Forum Search