What Is a Pareto Chart?


Quick Answer

A Pareto chart is a graph that shows bars in descending order accompanied by a line graph depicting the cumulative value of all the bars. The graph is commonly used as a statistical measure to identify factors that have the most cumulative effect on a system.

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Full Answer

A Pareto chart is commonly used in quality-control metrics. When analyzing a quality-control distribution model, a small number of issues typically account for a considerable amount of defects. By identifying and solving for the greater factor set, the greatest improvement can be made to the system.

A Pareto chart allows for the analysis of data to determine the frequency of a problem in a process or system, when it is important to focus on the most significant factor, when analyzing specific components of a larger system, and when communicating the analysis of the data.

A Pareto chart of a data set is easily created by assigning categories to each data point, then creating a sum of the points in each category. Next, create a bar chart where the tallest bar is on the left and the bars descend according to size until the smallest bar is on the right. Finally, create a line graph by adding the sums for each of the bars. The line graph ends with the highest value on the right.

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