Home > Statistics > Activities > Area in graphs

Area in graphs

This is one type of a misleading graph.

Five bars of roughly correct relative height showing amounts $223, $59, $193, $44, $161. The $193 bar is twice as wide as others.

Bar graph of average weekly Australian spending.

Discussion points

  • What is the title of the graph?
  • What is being represented on the horizontal axis?
  • What is being represented vertically?
  • In a bar graph the area of a bar is proportional to the quantity represented in the bar, so how is this graph misleading?
  • What percentage of the weekly spending is spent on transport?
  • What percentage of the amount spent on transport would the area shown on the graph appear to represent?
  • Why do you think the reporter produced this plot?
  • Explain why we cannot find a median for this data set.

Suggested answers for misleading area graphs can be downloaded.

Curriculum links

Year 6: Interpret secondary data presented in digital media and elsewhere