Data shown on graphs

Graphs are a useful way to show numerical data. A variety of graphs are used to present different types of data. Graphs can be used to summarise data, highlight patterns, and help reach conclusions. Choosing the right graph is very important when displaying data in geography. You must be able to extract and interpret information from them.

Exploring the use of statistical techniques that help geographers analyse the data they deal with every day

Line graphs

Population graph showing the actual growth and predicted growth in the world's population between 1800 and 2120World population growth between 1800 and 2100

Line graphs show how data changes over time or space. The line graph above displays the changes in world population growth over time. The x-axis shows time or distance. When interpreting a line graph, you should include:

  • a trend or change over time
  • the pattern of the line showing an increase or decrease
  • the rate of change shown by the steepness of the line

Multiple line graphs

Multiple line graphs show more than one line, making it easier to compare different data sets on the same graph.

Predicted fuel requirement and usage in the next 100 yearsGlobal energy

This graph has three lines showing three different data sets on the same graph. The general trends are an increase in the global demand for energy and renewable energy, and a decrease in the supply of fossil fuels between the year 2000 and 2050.