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Bar Chart VS Histogram: Important Differences You’re Looking For

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28th Aug, 2022
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Bar Chart VS Histogram: Important Differences You’re Looking For

With bar chart and histogram being the most prominently used statistical tools, knowing the key difference between histogram and bar graph is essential for the right implementation. 

Before we get to the debate of the bar chart vs histogram or also known as the bar graph vs histogram, it is important to understand the definition of both in order to correctly assess the difference between bar graph and histogram. So, let’s go ahead and learn the major difference between histogram and bar graph!

What Is the Bar Chart

Before diving deep into the in-depth details of the bar chart vs histogram, let’s find out the basics!

A bar chart is used for the representation of data in a graphical form. It is used to compare the frequency and the sums and the different categories of data. Representation of information by using horizontal and vertical bars in the bar chart also called column charts. A bar graph is commonly used for displaying the financial analysis of the numerical data.

There are two types of bar charts- vertical charts and horizontal charts. With the help of a bar chart, you can easily show the comparison between two categories; it is also used to convey relational information quickly as the bar chart displays. A bar chart contains an X-axis, Y-axis, label, bars to represent the relevant information through the chart. A bar chart is used to show all categories of data. 

When you make a bar chart, it is always important to decide that you are using discrete or continuous data information; whereas if it is discrete data, always describe the situation when each category is separate from the others but with continuous data series. You should not leave a gap between them and in accordance with the same one should know the difference between bar chart and histogram. If you are eager to learn more about data visualization, learn data science courses from top institutes.

Read: Top Data Visualization Techniques

What Is Histogram

A histogram is a graphical representation of a group and the statistical data to organize the information into a specified range. It is similar in nature to the graph chart. It is the indication of the data that lies in between the ranges of the values. Mostly it is used in statistics to demonstrate the certain types of variables in the given information. For example, the height of the trees can be grouped into 3 to 4, 5 to 6 feet, and 7 to 8 feet.

Creating a histogram provides a visual representation of numerical information in the form of data. Histograms showcase a large number of data and the frequency of data. And the distribution can be determined by a histogram.

Distribution of histogram is divided into 5 parts:

  • A normal distribution
  • A bimodal distribution
  • A right-skewed distribution
  • A left-skewed distribution
  • A random distribution

Difference between bar chart and histogram:

The distribution of the histogram is divided into five parts:

  • A normal distribution: The bell-shaped curve that results from a normal distribution is symmetrical because points on the left side of the mean have the same probability of occurring as those on the right side of the mean.
  • A bimodal distribution: The term “bimodal” is used to describe histograms with two distinct peaks. Bimodality happens when a data set has observations about two different groupings and the centers of the two distinct histograms are far enough away from each other to account for the variation in both data sets.
  • A right-skewed distribution: For a histogram that is right-skewed, a bulk of data lies at the left side of the peak of the histogram, and the rest of the data lies at the tail end of the histogram at the right
  • A left-skewed distribution: For a histogram that is left-skewed, a bulk of data lies at the right side of the peak of the histogram, and the rest of the data lies at the tail end of the histogram at the left.
  • A random distribution: When there is no discernible pattern and several peaks in a histogram, we say that the distribution is random. A random distribution occurs when different data attributes are considered as variables while plotting a histogram.

Bar Charts

  • The graph is the graphical representation of data that uses bars to distinguish various database types.
  • There are gaps between the bars and bars that never meet each other.
  • Comparison of discrete variables.
  • The bar chart is often of similar width.
  • It always represents quantitative data only
  • The width of the chart may vary in the bar chart
  • There will be no spaces between two bars in the bar chart


  • The histogram is referring to a graphical representation, the information shown in the form of bar charts for the comparison of the different frequencies numerical data, the histogram refers to a graphic display that displays data through bars to display numeric data frequency.
  • Elements are clustered to be regarded as ranges in that sort of graph.
  • The components of the histogram are numbers to be listed as data range.
  • To display the incident frequency.
  • The data points in Histogram are clustered and made according to their bin value.
  • Histograms always represent categorical data only.
  • The width of the histogram would be equal.
  • There will be equally spaced bars in the histogram.

    Difference between Bar Chart and Histogram 

    The main difference between bar diagram and histogram is that the bars in a histogram are contiguous, whilst the bars in a bar chart are not and there is spacing between the bars.

    Comparing the difference between bar chart and histogram in statistics, a bar chart or a histogram is a good way to show a large amount of data. Both a bar chart and a histogram are visual representations of groups of data, which is what they have in common. The table below will show you the difference between bar diagram and histogram

    Bar ChartHistogram
    Categorical information is represented by the bars in a bar graph.The bar in a histogram is a graphical depiction of quantitative data sets, grouped under a certain parameter.
    The bars in a bar graph do not touch each other.The bars in a histogram touch each other.
    Variables represented on a bar graph are discrete.Variables represented on a histogram can be non-discrete.
    The width of bars in a bar graph has to be the same.The width of bars in a histogram need not be the same.
    A bar chart is a graphical representation of data that compares distinct variables.The histogram depicts the frequency distribution of a continuous variable.

    When we’re debating on histogram vs bar chart, or histogram vs bar graph, we also need to understand that there are advantages and drawbacks of using both in mathematical and real-world applications. The advantages and disadvantages of both the bar chart and the histogram are mentioned below:

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Advantages of bar chart are as follows

  • A bar chart with digital or categorical data may be used.
  • In a frequency distribution, the bar graph shows each type of data.
  • It includes relative numbers or multi-category proportions
  • Visually, you can sum up a broad collection of data.
  • At a glance, estimate key values.
  • Show close numbers or outline proportions.
  • Wide visual data helps to explain patterns than tables better.

Advantages of the histogram are as follows

  • It allows you to view a vast volume of data in a tabular form that is difficult to understand.
  • They explain what time of occurrences values.
  • Useful in deciding a process’s power.
  • This allows you to foresee the potential success of the system.
  • You could display the frequency of the data incident along with an interval in the histogram.
  • Bar graphics advantages
  • Histogram’s drawbacks

Also Read: Benefits of Data Visualization

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The Drawbacks

Drawbacks of the bar chart are here

  • This is the inverse of a bar chart.
  • Only the frequencies for a data set are shown in a bar diagram.
  • With the Bar Graph, you need more details.
  • It does not disclose essential conclusions, triggers, implications or trends.

Drawbacks of the histogram are here

  • You can’t read correct values when data is classified.
  • It just uses continuous knowledge. Two data sets cannot be contrasted conveniently in Histogram.
  • The use of intervals in the histogram avoids any precision measurement of central propensity being to be computed.

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The difference between histogram and bar chart are many, but knowing their key uses helps separate the two and implement them in the right situation. The histogram is used to showcase a graphical presentation that represents the data in the form of frequency; whereas a bar chart is also a graphical representation of data and the information that is used for the comparison of two categories.

Both bar charts and histograms are an important element of statistics. Although there might be a difference between histogram and bar chart under many bases of comparison, one cannot conclude that one is better than the other in the argument of histogram vs bar chart or histogram vs bar graph

In simple terms, when comparing the difference between bar graph and histogram, a bar chart or bar graph is used in summarizing categorical data, where a histogram uses a bar of different heights, it is similar to the bar chart in many terms but the histogram groups the numbers into the ranges while representing the data. The difference between bar graph and histogram have been discussed above, which provide enough relevant information and understanding about the two, bar chart and histogram. 

If you are curious to learn about data science, check out IIIT-B & upGrad’s Executive PG Programme in Data Science which is created for working professionals and offers 10+ case studies & projects, practical hands-on workshops, mentorship with industry experts, 1-on-1 with industry mentors, 400+ hours of learning and job assistance with top firms.


Rohit Sharma

Blog Author
Rohit Sharma is the Program Director for the UpGrad-IIIT Bangalore, PG Diploma Data Analytics Program.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

1What are the uses of a Histogram?

The main purpose of using a histogram is to organize and display a large set of information or numerical data in an intuitive and user-friendly way. Histograms will make it easy for the viewer to understand where too many variations were seen in the values. So, whenever you need to place your numerical data in a way that every viewer can understand easily, then you should make use of a histogram. Here are some of its applications:
1. Electoral data analysis
2. Weather forecast
3. Disease tracking
4. Stocks trading
5. Business analysis
6. Histograms in photography
Once you understand the purpose of histograms clearly, you will be able to use them in the right place for better understanding.

2What are the merits and demerits of Histograms?

A histogram is really useful for representing a huge amount of numerical data on graphs in an easy-to-understand manner. Now, let us understand the merits and demerits of histograms in a better way.
1. Histograms are capable of displaying large datasets and a huge amount of data on graphs.
2. Useful for portraying the relative frequency of the occurrence of any data
3. The future performance of any process can be determined with the help of a histogram.
1. Not capable of reading the exact data because data has been grouped into different categories.
2. Histograms can only be used with continuous data.
3. If you wish to compare two different data sets, then it is not possible with histograms.

3What should be included in a bar chart?

A bar chart is another method for representing information. They are considered to be an effective way of displaying data clearly. A bar chart should consist of the following information:
1. A title that explains what the bar chart is about.
2. Labels to determine the meaning of every bar in the chart. This could either be a key or a simple label below the horizontal axis of the bar chart.
3. The vertical axis of the bar chart should consist of numbers to determine the length of the bar chart and also the number of equal intervals.
This piece of mandatory information has to be displayed on a bar chart to understand the information put up in it.

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