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2.2.1: Frequency Polygons and Time Series Graphs

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    10919
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    Frequency Polygons

    Frequency polygons are analogous to line graphs, and just as line graphs make continuous data visually easy to interpret, so too do frequency polygons. To construct a frequency polygon, first examine the data and decide on the number of intervals, or class intervals, to use on the x-axis and y-axis. After choosing the appropriate ranges, begin plotting the data points. After all the points are plotted, draw line segments to connect them.

    You can create a Frequency Polygon from a grouped frequency distribution by using the class midpoints for the x-axis values. Frequency polygons are "anchored" on the x-axis on both ends, as you can see below.

    Example \(\PageIndex{4}\)

    A frequency polygon was constructed from the frequency table below.

    Frequency Distribution for Calculus Final Test Scores
    Lower Bound Upper Bound Frequency Cumulative Frequency
    49.5 59.5 5 5
    59.5 69.5 10 15
    69.5 79.5 30 45
    79.5 89.5 40 85
    89.5 99.5 15 100
    A frequency polygon was constructed from the frequency table below.
    Figure \(\PageIndex{4}\).

    The first label on the x-axis is 44.5. This represents an interval extending from 39.5 to 49.5. Since the lowest test score is 54.5, this interval is used only to allow the graph to touch the x-axis. The point labeled 54.5 represents the next interval, or the first “real” interval from the table, and contains five scores. This reasoning is followed for each of the remaining intervals with the point 104.5 representing the interval from 99.5 to 109.5. Again, this interval contains no data and is only used so that the graph will touch the x-axis. Looking at the graph, we say that this distribution is skewed because one side of the graph does not mirror the other side.

    Exercise \(\PageIndex{4}\)

    Construct a frequency polygon of U.S. Presidents’ ages at inauguration shown in Table.

    Age at Inauguration Frequency
    41.5–46.5 4
    46.5–51.5 11
    51.5–56.5 14
    56.5–61.5 9
    61.5–66.5 4
    66.5–71.5 2

    Answer

    The first label on the x-axis is 39. This represents an interval extending from 36.5 to 41.5. Since there are no ages less than 41.5, this interval is used only to allow the graph to touch the x-axis. The point labeled 44 represents the next interval, or the first “real” interval from the table, and contains four scores. This reasoning is followed for each of the remaining intervals with the point 74 representing the interval from 71.5 to 76.5. Again, this interval contains no data and is only used so that the graph will touch the x-axis. Looking at the graph, we say that this distribution is skewed because one side of the graph does not mirror the other side.

    .This figure shows a graph entitled, 'President's Age at Inauguration.' The x-axis is labeled 'Ages' and is marked off at 39, 44, 49, 54, 59, 64, 69 and 74. The y-axis is labeled, 'Frequency,' and is marked off in intervals of 1 from 0 to 15. The following points are plotted and a line connects one to the other to create the frequency polygon: (39, 0), (44, 4), (49, 11), (54, 14), (59, 9), (64, 4), (69, 2), (74, 0).
    Figure \(\PageIndex{5}\).

    Frequency polygons are useful for comparing distributions. This is achieved by overlaying the frequency polygons drawn for different data sets.

    Example \(\PageIndex{5}\)

    We will construct an overlay frequency polygon comparing the scores from Example with the students’ final numeric grade.

    Frequency Distribution for Calculus Final Test Scores
    Lower Bound Upper Bound Frequency Cumulative Frequency
    49.5 59.5 5 5
    59.5 69.5 10 15
    69.5 79.5 30 45
    79.5 89.5 40 85
    89.5 99.5 15 100
    Frequency Distribution for Calculus Final Grades
    Lower Bound Upper Bound Frequency Cumulative Frequency
    49.5 59.5 10 10
    59.5 69.5 10 20
    69.5 79.5 30 50
    79.5 89.5 45 95
    89.5 99.5 5 100
    This is an overlay frequency polygon that matches the supplied data. The x-axis shows the grades, and the y-axis shows the frequency.
    Figure \(\PageIndex{6}\).

    Suppose that we want to study the temperature range of a region for an entire month. Every day at noon we note the temperature and write this down in a log. A variety of statistical studies could be done with this data. We could find the mean or the median temperature for the month. We could construct a histogram displaying the number of days that temperatures reach a certain range of values. However, all of these methods ignore a portion of the data that we have collected.

    One feature of the data that we may want to consider is that of time. Since each date is paired with the temperature reading for the day, we don‘t have to think of the data as being random. We can instead use the times given to impose a chronological order on the data. A graph that recognizes this ordering and displays the changing temperature as the month progresses is called a time series graph.

    Constructing a Time Series Graph

    To construct a time series graph, we must look at both pieces of our paired data set. We start with a standard Cartesian coordinate system. The horizontal axis is used to plot the date or time increments, and the vertical axis is used to plot the values of the variable that we are measuring. By doing this, we make each point on the graph correspond to a date and a measured quantity. The points on the graph are typically connected by straight lines in the order in which they occur.

    Example \(\PageIndex{6}\)

    The following data shows the Annual Consumer Price Index, each month, for ten years. Construct a time series graph for the Annual Consumer Price Index data only.

    Year Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul
    2003 181.7 183.1 184.2 183.8 183.5 183.7 183.9
    2004 185.2 186.2 187.4 188.0 189.1 189.7 189.4
    2005 190.7 191.8 193.3 194.6 194.4 194.5 195.4
    2006 198.3 198.7 199.8 201.5 202.5 202.9 203.5
    2007 202.416 203.499 205.352 206.686 207.949 208.352 208.299
    2008 211.080 211.693 213.528 214.823 216.632 218.815 219.964
    2009 211.143 212.193 212.709 213.240 213.856 215.693 215.351
    2010 216.687 216.741 217.631 218.009 218.178 217.965 218.011
    2011 220.223 221.309 223.467 224.906 225.964 225.722 225.922
    2012 226.665 227.663 229.392 230.085 229.815 229.478 229.104
    Year Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Annual
    2003 184.6 185.2 185.0 184.5 184.3 184.0
    2004 189.5 189.9 190.9 191.0 190.3 188.9
    2005 196.4 198.8 199.2 197.6 196.8 195.3
    2006 203.9 202.9 201.8 201.5 201.8 201.6
    2007 207.917 208.490 208.936 210.177 210.036 207.342
    2008 219.086 218.783 216.573 212.425 210.228 215.303
    2009 215.834 215.969 216.177 216.330 215.949 214.537
    2010 218.312 218.439 218.711 218.803 219.179 218.056
    2011 226.545 226.889 226.421 226.230 225.672 224.939
    2012 230.379 231.407 231.317 230.221 229.601 229.594

    Answer

    This is a times series graph that matches the supplied data. The x-axis shows years from 2003 to 2012, and the y-axis shows the annual CPI.
    Figure \(\PageIndex{7}\).

    Exercise \(\PageIndex{5}\)

    The following table is a portion of a data set from www.worldbank.org. Use the table to construct a time series graph for CO2 emissions for the United States.

    CO2 Emissions
      Ukraine United Kingdom United States
    2003 352,259 540,640 5,681,664
    2004 343,121 540,409 5,790,761
    2005 339,029 541,990 5,826,394
    2006 327,797 542,045 5,737,615
    2007 328,357 528,631 5,828,697
    2008 323,657 522,247 5,656,839
    2009 272,176 474,579 5,299,563
    This is a times series graph that matches the supplied data. The x-axis shows years from 2003 to 2012, and the y-axis shows the annual CPI.
    Figure \(\PageIndex{8}\).

    Uses of a Time Series Graph

    Time series graphs are important tools in various applications of statistics. When recording values of the same variable over an extended period of time, sometimes it is difficult to discern any trend or pattern. However, once the same data points are displayed graphically, some features jump out. Time series graphs make trends easy to spot.

    Review

    A histogram is a graphic version of a frequency distribution. The graph consists of bars of equal width drawn adjacent to each other. The horizontal scale represents classes of quantitative data values and the vertical scale represents frequencies. The heights of the bars correspond to frequency values. Histograms are typically used for large, continuous, quantitative data sets.  A frequency polygon can be used instead of a histogram when graphing large data sets with data points that repeat. The data usually goes on x-axis with the frequency being graphed on the y-axis. Time series graphs can be helpful when looking at large amounts of data for one variable over a period of time.

    References

    1. Data on annual homicides in Detroit, 1961–73, from Gunst & Mason’s book ‘Regression Analysis and its Application’, Marcel Dekker
    2. “Timeline: Guide to the U.S. Presidents: Information on every president’s birthplace, political party, term of office, and more.” Scholastic, 2013. Available online at www.scholastic.com/teachers/a...-us-presidents (accessed April 3, 2013).
    3. “Presidents.” Fact Monster. Pearson Education, 2007. Available online at http://www.factmonster.com/ipka/A0194030.html (accessed April 3, 2013).
    4. “Food Security Statistics.” Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. Available online at http://www.fao.org/economic/ess/ess-fs/en/ (accessed April 3, 2013).
    5. “Consumer Price Index.” United States Department of Labor: Bureau of Labor Statistics. Available online at http://data.bls.gov/pdq/SurveyOutputServlet (accessed April 3, 2013).
    6. “CO2 emissions (kt).” The World Bank, 2013. Available online at http://databank.worldbank.org/data/home.aspx (accessed April 3, 2013).
    7. “Births Time Series Data.” General Register Office For Scotland, 2013. Available online at www.gro-scotland.gov.uk/stati...me-series.html (accessed April 3, 2013).
    8. “Demographics: Children under the age of 5 years underweight.” Indexmundi. Available online at http://www.indexmundi.com/g/r.aspx?t=50&v=2224&aml=en (accessed April 3, 2013).
    9. Gunst, Richard, Robert Mason. Regression Analysis and Its Application: A Data-Oriented Approach. CRC Press: 1980.
    10. “Overweight and Obesity: Adult Obesity Facts.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Available online at http://www.cdc.gov/obesity/data/adult.html (accessed September 13, 2013).
    Frequency
    the number of times a value of the data occurs
    Histogram
    a graphical representation in \(x-y\) form of the distribution of data in a data set; \(x\) represents the data and \(y\) represents the frequency, or relative frequency. The graph consists of contiguous rectangles.
    Relative Frequency
    the ratio of the number of times a value of the data occurs in the set of all outcomes to the number of all outcomes

    Contributors and Attributions

    • Barbara Illowsky and Susan Dean (De Anza College) with many other contributing authors. Content produced by OpenStax College is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution License 4.0 license. Download for free at http://cnx.org/contents/30189442-699...b91b9de@18.114.