What is misleading line charts

Dot or line graph

# Line charts

A line diagram represents - like the bar diagram - the Categories on the horizontal axis in one even spacing represent.

Danger

When the categories Numbers with an uneven spacing this leads to a misleading representation.

In the diagram below, world population growth is shown as a line graph. The development between 1900 and 2015 takes up a larger area than the development between the year 0 and 1900, although the period in the second area is much longer.

This leads to a distorted representation of growth, which at first glance appears to be linear is interpreted.

# Scatter charts (XY charts)

The scatter chart is the only type of chart that is on both axes Numerical values represents.

The growth of the world population is displayed correctly in this case, since the data points are also correctly spaced horizontally. Using the diagram below, that is exponential Growth evident:

Conclusion

Line charts must not be used. A scatter diagram should always be used instead of a line diagram. (The only exception: in climate diagrams with months in the X-axis, a line diagram can / must be selected for the temperature profile.)

Last change: 3. March 2021 10:43

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