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Relative Frequency Graphs – Meaning and Examples

Relative Frequency Graphs – Meaning and Examples

The histogram, the frequency polygon, and the ogive shown previously were constructed by using frequencies in terms of the raw data. These distributions can be converted to distributions using proportions instead of raw data as frequencies. These types of graphs are called relative frequency graphs. Graphs of relative frequencies instead of frequencies are used when the proportion of data values that fall into a given class is more important than the actual number of data values that fall into that class. For example, if you wanted to compare the age distribution of adults in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, with the age distribution of adults of Erie, Pennsylvania, you would use relative frequency distributions. The reason is that since the population of Philadelphia is 1,478,002 and the population of Erie is 105,270, the bars using the actual data values for Philadelphia would be much taller than those for the same classes for Erie. To convert a frequency into a proportion or relative frequency, divide the frequency for each class by the total of the frequencies. The sum of the relative frequencies will always be 1. These graphs are similar to the ones that use raw data as frequencies, but the values on the y axis are in terms of proportions. Example 2–7 shows the three types of relative frequency graphs


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