10 Important Examples Of Positive And Negative Numbers In Real Life

A positive or negative sign before a number makes a huge difference. While positive implies add-on, negative implies decrease. With this idea, inferences in a number of areas like quantity and directions are made easy. These real-life instances are worth observing. 

Sometimes, learning from real-life cues may be beneficial as the students may ensure better attention to detail. To assist pupils in learning positive and negative numbers, we have listed ten real-life applications that you may have been thorough but have not noticed the implications of these numbers. 

Why is there a need to learn about positive and negative numbers?

We use multiple positive and negative numbers applications every day. Understanding the sign is often crucial in pivotal fields like aviation, shipping, stocks, transportation, and understanding statistics. A small sign mistake can create a blunder that can cause a significant impact. Accordingly, students may need to know the reason “why do these numbers exist?” and “What are the applications of these positive and negative numbers?

What is the idea of positive and negative numbers?

Numbers indicate the quantity or value. The positive and negative may be the indications of addition or subtraction. If a quantity increases, we say that a particular amount of thing has been added to the previous quantity or vice versa if it decreases. The negative number simply shows the decline from the previous state or value, and the positive number shows the increment in the previous state or value. E.g.-  The annual growth percentage in a country’s GDP might be negative, which indicates a recession.

Here are a few advantages of positive-negative numbers:

  1. We can detect a wider range of temperatures even below zero degrees which helps us do many chemical reactions which require negative temperatures.
  2. The accurate measurement of  elevations helps flights to operate at a safer distance in the sky. (1000 ft apart)
  3. Time Zones across the globe are decided by adding or subtracting hours from the GMT.
  4. Determining the focal lengths of optical lenses for a clear vision.
  5. Positive- Negative polarization helps the charge to flow, resulting in electric current.

Talking beyond the theoretical part, we experience some real-life examples where we use the concept of positive and negative numbers daily without even realizing it. Here are the 10 real-life discussions that depict the value of positive and negative numbers. 

Where we use positive & negative numbers in real life?

Numbers, be it positive or negative are evident almost everywhere around us. We may not notice them but their significance in these few areas is very crucial. Here are a few real-life instances that may assist you in identifying:

1. Stock Exchange

Stock Exchange

The stock market is an exchange where you can buy or sell the stocks of listed companies. It is the hub of financial activity in an economy. The estimations and depiction here encompass both positive and negative numbers.

Every second, the indices value fluctuates, showing the trend to be positive or negative. The positive integer indicates the growth in the stock prices, while the negative sign means a decline in stock prices.

Your profit and losses are also settled in the form of positive and negative signs. For example, if the price of a stock is $100 and the next day it goes up to $110, the stock is considered positive with a 10 percent increase.

2. Temperature Measurement

temperature Measurement

The measure of temperature may be a noteworthy example in everyday life where we use positive and negative numbers. Weather reports show if the temperature of a place is high or low in terms of positive and negative signs before putting the numeric value of the temperature.

Countries near the equator have higher temperatures, while nearby poles go beyond zero. The negative temperature is a clear indicator of temperature below the freezing point. For instance, the UAE’s temperature is 45°C which indicates it would be a hot climate there. On the other hand, the temperature of the Arctic region is -25°C, which means it would be cold.

3. Elevation

Elevation indicates the distance from sea level. In simple terms, it means how high or low the object is from the top of the seafloor. Consider Sea level as the origin of the elevation number line, just as 0 is the origin of the counting number line.

As the elevation climbs above sea level towards the sky, numbers rise into the positive. As elevation falls below sea level, numbers fall into the negatives. Though elevation can be negative, it is written as ‘X ft below sea level’ instead of -x feet of elevation. 

4. Latitude & Longitude

Latitude & Longitude

Latitudes and longitudes are crucial geographical reference lines. Latitude tells how far north or south of a place’s equator, while longitude tells how far east or west of the Prime Meridian. It is based on Earth’s latitude and longitude grid system, which divides the globe north-south into two zones and east-west into four zones. The grid system allows travelers to find their way from point A to B.

Imaginary Latitude and longitudes lines were drawn around the earth’s surface to be defined as an exact location. The middle of the earth was defined as the equator or 0 degrees. The North Pole is denoted at 90° & South Pole is denoted at -90°. Hence, the latitude shown in the northern hemisphere has positive values while latitude values are negative in the southern hemisphere. Longitudes range from 0° at the prime meridian that runs through London, UK, to ±180° at the antimeridian in the Pacific Ocean. 

5. Lifts (Elevators)


We use elevators every single day. It is a vertical transportation medium that helps us move between multiple stories/ floors of a building. Here, the ground floor is labeled as zero. While the top floors are marked as 1,2,3, the basement and parking are generally marked as -1, -2, and-3, and so on.

Witnessing these in most public places and buildings is one common everyday example we come across using positive and negative numbers.

6. Bank Statements

Bank Statements

When you check your Bank Statements or transactions, some transactions have + signs in front of them while others have – sign. The positive sign indicates that the money is deposited or credited into the account. On the other hand, a negative sign indicates a debit, i.e. the money has been sent to someone else.

For simple understanding, the credited money or interest is denoted by a plus sign, and a negative/minus sign denotes debits and charges. Traversing through a bank statement, one can effortlessly observe these figures. 

7. Understanding Statistics 

We need to study the positive and negative integers to conclude a particular result from statistical data. For example, the Calculation of the total population in a particular country will require an estimation of the Immigrants, Emigrants, and consistent population. Then, we need to add up the immigrants and consistent population and subtract the emigrants from it. Officials may need to add up the negative and positive populations to do population calculations and make policies for your country. 

8. Sports

Many indicators in sports events require displaying the negative terms.

  • In baseball, the run differential is negative if the team gives away more runs than they have scored themselves.
  • Yard gain in football can be positive or negative.
  • Formula 1 drivers may be given a time for the lap or sector, such as a record lap or lap just completed. The number is positive if the driver completed the lap at a slower pace and negative if at a faster pace.

9. MCQ Exam scores (with negative marking)

MCQ exams are usually a way to assess the knowledge of a subject. Some of these tests may reduce marks for every wrong answer as well.  Consequently,  students may score a negative number as well.  So, the total of negative marks exceeds the positive marks, and then the net score gain becomes a negative score. It can be an unfortunate event for a student. 

10.  Music Charts Ranking – Billboard/ Spotify Rankings

Music Charts or Videos rankings are posted on Billboard every week. The rank gain is denoted by a plus sign in front of the song. The integer value denotes how many ranks the song has come up. If a song goes down in ranking, you can see the negative sign beside the song with an integer that illustrates that the song’s rank has decreased.  

Wrapping up,

There is a growing need to understand positive and negative numbers because they are essential in mathematics, engineering, business, aviation, and other related fields. In addition, positive and negative numbers are important because they allow for comparisons and diversification of numerical data. Negative Numbers often complete the depiction of various quantities.

While there are multiple real-life applications, we have listed the most common choices that many people may have witnessed. Check out these to inculcate your little one’s importance of positive and negative numbers. 

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