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Miles Vs Kilometers: What's the Difference?

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There are two systems of measurement that people use all around the world: miles and kilometers. Though they both measure distance, there are some key differences between the two that can be confusing for people new to either system. In this article, we'll explore those differences and explain how each is used.

The main difference between a mile and a kilometer is that a mile is a unit of length in the imperial system, while a kilometer is a unit of length in the metric system. 1 mile is equal to 1.61 kilometers, and 1 kilometer is equal to 0.62 miles.

The History of the Mile


In ancient times, the length of a mile was commonly agreed to be equivalent to 1,000 double steps (i.e. 2,000 single steps), or 5,000 feet (1,500 meters). This measures close to the modern value of 1.61 kilometers. The origin of the term "mile" is uncertain, but it is thought to come from the Latin word for "thousand," mille. It was first used in England around AD 1000.

The first miles were probably established by the Romans during their occupation of Britain from AD 43 until 410. The Roman roads were often straight and ran for long distances in order to be visible from one end to the other so that Roman troops could march quickly to wherever they were needed.

By the 14th century, there were different standards for miles in different parts of Europe, with values ranging from 5,000 to 8,000 feet (1,524 to 2,438 meters). In 1592, Queen Elizabeth I decreed that the official length of a mile should be 8 furlongs (a furlong is 220 yards or 201 meters), or 1,760 yards (1,609 meters). This has been the standard ever since in both Britain and the United States.

The Metric System


The metric system is an international system of weights and measures that is used in almost all countries. The United States is one of the few countries that does not use the metric system exclusively, but it is slowly moving towards using the metric system more. The metric system uses the International System of Units (SI), which defines a set of units based on seven base units: the meter (m), the kilogram (kg), the second (s), the ampere (A), the kelvin (K), the mole (mol), and the candela (cd).

Differences Between Miles and Kilometers

Miles and kilometers are both units of distance, but they are used in different systems of measurement. A mile is a unit of measurement in the United States customary system, while a kilometer is a unit of measurement in the metric system.

One mile is equivalent to 1.609 kilometers, so there are about 0.62 miles in a kilometer. This means that one kilometer is about 1.6 times longer than a mile.

Miles are often used in the United States to measure distance, while kilometers are used in many other parts of the world. For example, most European countries use kilometers to measure distance on road signs and maps.

How to Convert Between the Two

There are many ways to convert between miles and kilometers, but the simplest method is to use a conversion factor. To convert from miles to kilometers, multiply by 1.609. For example, 5 miles x 1.609 = 8.045 kilometers. To convert from kilometers to miles, divide by 1.609. Using the same example, 8.045 kilometers / 1.609 = 5 miles. You can also use an online calculator or converter to make the conversion for you.

Frequently Asked Questions

Mph Vs Km/h: what's the difference?

Mph stands for miles per hour while km/h stands for kilometers per hour. They are both ways of measuring how fast something is going, but mph is used in the United States while km/h is used in most other countries.

One mph is equal to 1.609 kilometers per hour (km/h). This means that to convert from mph to km/h, you just need to multiply by 1.609. For example, 60 mph would be 96.5 km/h. To convert from km/h to mph, you would divide by 1.609. So, 80 km/h would be 49.7 mph.

How many units are in the metric system?

There are seven units in the metric system: length, mass, time, electric current, temperature, amount of substance, and luminous intensity. The unit of length is the meter (m), the unit of mass is the kilogram (kg), the unit of time is the second (s), the unit of electric current is the ampere (A), the unit of temperature is the kelvin (K), the unit of amount of substance is the mole (mol), and the unit of luminous intensity is the candela (cd).

How many kilometers are there in a mile?

There are 1.6 kilometers in a mile. This is based on the standard mile of 1,760 yards or 5,280 feet.

Why the United States doesn't use kilometers?

The United States uses a different system of measurement than the metric system. The U.S. Customary System, also known as the English System, is used in the United States. This system of measurement is used for things such as length, weight, and volume.


In conclusion, there are three main differences between miles and kilometers. First, miles are longer than kilometers. Second, kilometers are used more internationally than miles. Finally, kilometers are broken down into smaller units than miles. These are the main ways in which miles and kilometers differ from each other.

Feel free to comment and discuss about the article in the comment space below if you have any information or remarks to add. If you think we made a mistake, you can also report it there.
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About the Author: Nicolas Seignette

Nicolas Seignette, who holds a scientific baccalaureate, began his studies in mathematics and computer science applied to human and social sciences (MIASHS). He then continued his university studies with a DEUST WMI (Webmaster and Internet professions) at the University of Limoges before finishing his course with a professional license specialized in the IT professions. On 10Differences, he is in charge of the research and the writing of the articles concerning technology, sciences and mathematics.
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