Percentile Rank query giving unexpected results


I'm getting unexpected results for the percentile_rank aggregation, and was looking for some help/clarification.

I've got 9 documents, all of which have a position field.
The position values for the 9 documents are:

[1, 1, 1, 1, 2, 2, 3, 4, 8]

Now when I do the following percentile_rank aggregate

  "size": 0,
  "aggs": {
    "percentile_test": {
      "percentile_ranks": {
        "field": "position",
        "values": [

The documentation at Percentile ranks aggregation | Elasticsearch Reference [7.11] | Elastic says that

Percentile rank shows the percentage of observed values which are below certain value

implying that for my value of 1, I should actually get a value of 0, since I have no documents with a position of less than 1.

Instead, I get

  "took": 2,
  "timed_out": false,
  "_shards": {
    "total": 1,
    "successful": 1,
    "skipped": 0,
    "failed": 0
  "hits": {
    "total": {
      "value": 9,
      "relation": "eq"
    "max_score": null,
    "hits": []
  "aggregations": {
    "percentile_test": {
      "values": {
        "1.0": 33.33333333333333,
        "3.0": 72.22222222222221

which states that my percentile rank for documents having a position of less than 1, is 33.33%. i.e., a third of my documents.
Similarly, with 6 out of 9 documents having a value of less than 3, I'd expect the percentile rank for 3 to be 66.66%. Instead, It's coming back as 72.22%.

I'm aware of the caveat in Percentiles aggregation | Elasticsearch Reference [7.11] | Elastic talking about how percentiles are approximate, however this seems a bit weird. I mean, in this case, I'm asking for the percent of values under the smallest value:

  1. there's nothing that is smaller, so why is that ever coming up with a value > 0?
  2. the same link says that for small document sets, it is highly accurate, potentially even being 100% accurate. And I think 9 documents is a very very small data set...

Can anybody provide some help/answers/opinions/perspective please?

I also note that similar questions about percentile rank have been asked in the past, without any answers, so clearly this is something that others have found puzzling :frowning:

Thanks in advance!

Nobody else able to respond to this with some experience?

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