Bar charts

Bar charts show grouped data as rectangular bars with spaces between the bars, e.g. the number of tourists visiting a resort each month.

Bar chart displaying the number of tourists visiting a resort each year. It has number of tourists on the y axis and the months of the year on the x axis.Bar chart: the number of tourists (per age category) visiting a resort in one year

When interpreting a bar chart, you should include:

  • the total e.g. total number of tourists per year
  • the highest and lowest amounts (by month) shown by the tallest and shortest bars
  • a comparison of the bars by noting differences between them

Divided bar chart

Divided bar charts split up each rectangular bar to break the information down further.

Divided bar charts are sometimes drawn horizontally and can often be used as an alternative to pie charts if the data is given in percentages.

Divided bar chart displaying the number of tourists visiting a resort each year. Each bar is divided up into sections that represent 4 age groups: 0-18, 19-39, 40-59 and 60+Divided bar chart: the number of tourists (per age category) visiting a resort in one year

When interpreting a divided bar chart, you should include:

  • the proportion or percentage of one bar compared to another
  • the highest and lowest figures shown by the biggest and smallest bar
  • the differences indicated by the size of each bar