11.4 Bar Charts

Earlier, you saw data from the Irish Tourism Fact Card presented in tables. Information can also be illustrated in bar charts. The chart below is also from the Tourism Fact Card and shows the numbers of visitors participating in different activities. The data were based on estimates from the Irish Central Statistical Office “Purpose of Visit” survey.

Described image
Fáilte Ireland (2004)

In a bar chart, the length of each bar represents the number in that category. On this chart, you can see that the longest bar is for hiking/hill walking, so this was the most popular activity. The shortest bar is for cruising, indicating that this was the least popular activity of those listed.

From the title, we know that the numbers of visitors are measured in thousands.

On this bar chart, the values represented by the bars have been marked directly on the chart. For example, the number of visitors who played golf was 134,000 and the number of visitors who went hiking/hill walking was 168,000.

If the values had not been marked on the bars, they could have been estimated by drawing a line from the end of the bar and seeing where it intersected the horizontal axis. For example, the end of the cycling bar is level with the 100 marked on the horizontal scale (as shown by the dashed line), so approximately 100,000 visitors went cycling.

Because the bars on this chart are horizontal, the chart is known as a horizontal bar chart. Bar charts can also be drawn with the bars vertical. Note that in a bar chart, each bar has the same width, and since the bars represent different and unrelated categories, the bars do not touch each other and are separated by gaps.

Can you see anything that is missing from this bar chart?

There is no label on the horizontal axis, which you would normally expect to complete a bar chart.

11.3.7 Drawing a Graph

11.4.1 Drawing a Bar Chart