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Bar Chart vs Histogram: What is the Difference Between Bar Chart and Histogram?

Data representation plays a crucial role in determining the value of data collection obtained by severe research and examination. Inaccurate data representation can cause chaos in any company working with tons of data to take essential steps and provide services to a diverse client base.

Business and data analysts use it acutely to generate valuable insights and take necessary steps to maintain company data or for comparing services. These two are some of the most widely used forms of data representation. But how do these two differ in their assessment?

Histogram and Bar Chart are two similar-looking diagrams with different functions. They both include bars as their basic shape, though key features vary. As one observes it clearly, it shows the presence of multiple diagrammatic differences one can recognize to differentiate between the two. A diagrammatic way of representing any form of information is the most reliable method to convey a message. Lack of precision might make anyone confuse one with the other, but there are severe differences between the two.

Let’s dive into the world of data visualization and learn the actual difference between bar charts and histograms!

Bar Chart

The most commonly seen form of data representation is a bar chart. It constitutes a series of bars drawn across the overlapping lines of the x-axis and y-axis to represent data variables along with their other quantitative aspects. The bar chart offers an easy data presentation form to show differences of values among the bars. These bars are categorized as numerical variables though they can simply be implied to compare two data categories, including qualitative categories as well.

Bar charts are most prominently used in their vertical forms though you can also use them in horizontal form. Both forms allow easy comparison of multiple categories of data. The length of each bar is directly proportional to the value they constitute. A clustered group of bars can also help represent more than one set of measured groups of data. The axis these bars stand facing represents different values for simple comparison.

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Histogram

The histogram is a visual representation of data in a statistical form where data is presented in continuous ranges of the value, and each bar represents the corresponding range. Unlike bar charts, histograms can be used to showcase a large number of data values.

The histogram presents a comprehensible variant of data series representation by taking diverse data points and condensing each into ranges, also known as bins. This format for data representation helps to understand even minor variations in data values.

A histogram works with continuous data values such as temperature, speed, weight, etc., and displays the distribution using bars. The distribution creates diverse shapes on the histogram graph, using which data analysts can find inaccuracies or other details. Histograms are used to investigate set goals and the difference between their results. Varying bar shapes can help analysts identify trouble points of the recorded variable and incorporate changes to the next business strategies.

What are the key differences: Histogram Vs. Bar Graph

Bar graphs and histograms are two similar-looking statistical data representation tools used widely in the business market to measure performance and daily goals. But even though they appear similar, their way of dealing with data variables is different, and so is the way of representation. So let’s find out the key differences between these two to gain clarity.

  • The bar graph represents bars at consecutive intervals as all the bars are neatly distributed on the axis. The histogram has no space between two successive bars, and all the bars seemingly appear joined together.
  • The x-axis of a bar chart can be represented using any value; for instance, it can include the age group of kids, percentage of a class, or simple name of fruits. However, an x-axis in a histogram must always represent a numerical value range.
  • The height of each bar represents the value they contain. On the other hand, histograms require ‘bins’ to represent or contain numerical values with each bar. 
  • Bar graph delivers categorical data. The histogram presents numerical data.

Merits and Demerits of a Bar Chart

Here are a few merits and demerits of using a bar chart!

Merits:

  • Highlights trends easily as compared to tables or in textual format.
  • The heights of the bar can be simply used to understand the responses. Thus, it is more visually more comprehensive.
  • It is effortless to create and read.
  • It helps to include a wide variety of data.
  • Two or three independent data sets are best to compare using a bar chart.

Demerits:

  • The graph fails to show an accurate percentage of responses from each category.
  • It requires too much precision, and it’s possible to misread the chart if the bar goes slightly above the referred line.
  • Fails to add detailed aspects like patterns, impact, and causes.
  • Oversimplification of data can give rise to misleading or manipulation of data.
  • Often requires additional explanation to support given patterns.

Merits and Demerits of a Histogram

Here are a few merits and demerits of using a histogram!

Merits: 

  • Detailed coverage of frequency distribution helps detect minor variations.
  • Resultant shapes of histograms can speak volumes of the delivered result.
  • Histograms help deliver tangible results, even for unordered data.
  • Histograms are best to deal with an extensive range of information.
  • It can also predict the future performance of the retrieved data set.

Demerit:

  • Unable to read exact data as it uses data in grouped categories.
  • You can only use it for continuous data sets. However, two data sets cannot be compared easily.
  • Histograms can easily be manipulated as the bin contains a large set of data, and a minor difference in data value can cause severe changes in the graph.
  • Difficult to compare trends amid categories.
  • The groups hide individual values, making it challenging to comprehend the relevant individual values since they depend on the number of bins.

Conclusion

Bar charts and histograms are closely related, following their similar appearance and data representation format, but the minor differences can become major ones when applied in real-world situations. So, make sure to use them vigilantly for the right set of data representation. It can either simplify the message or complicate it if not used correctly, so make sure to uncover their details before implementing them proficiently.

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Where are histograms used?

Answer: Histogram helps represent continuous data flow to recognize patterns or fluctuations among the data variables. A histogram is mainly used to depict numerical data values or frequency distribution of variables in a set of data in a measured form on an interval. The most significant real-life example of using histograms is creating demographic reports each year. From recognizing patterns related to health, businesses, and mortality rate, to analyzing weather reports and predictions, the histogram has become a frequently used method to present data in a precise format without the need of applying lengthy pages of statistical information in detail.

How can bar graph and histogram be used?

Answer: Bar chart and histogram both are proven methods of data representation used to direct quantitative data collection and analysis to the audience using visual elements like a simple bar on graph paper with intervals. For example, businesses use graphs widely each day to deliver market reports, sale profits, and audience engagement which cannot be understood by people unknown to technical methods.

Q3: How many types of bar graphs are there?

Answer: Data representation using bar graphs is a great way to narrate the frequency of data. It has one of the most straightforward comprehension properties and diverse forms to reflect data values. Different bar graph types include: Grouped Bar Graph Vertical Bar Graph Stacked Bar Graph Horizontal Bar Graph

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