What is a Pie Chart?
A pie chart is very helpful for showing how a certain category is divided. Here, we have the makings of a pie chart, but it’s still missing a lot. Right now, all we have is information that we need to plug into this pie chart. Right here, we have the expenses of Joe. Rent is $200, food is $100, gas is $50, and entertainment is $50, and this is per month.
First, we need a title for this pie chart. The title is going to be “Joe’s Monthly Expenses”. The great thing about a title, is it allows the reader of the graph to quickly look at this graph, see the title, and know what this pie chart is going to pertain to. We first need to realize, or understand, how much money total is being spent. Here it’s $400 total. 200 + 100 + 50 + 50 = 400. We see here that rent is $200. If rent is $200, then we can reduce this down to 2 over 1, or flip it over.
The important thing is that you realize that 200 is one half of 400. If we draw a line right here, we realize that rent is half, or 50%, of all of Joe’s expenses. Food is $100, so that’s a quarter of it. Then, gas and entertainment or $50 each. If this half right here represents 200 and this quarter represents 100, then $50 should represent half of a quarter, or an eighth, of the total expenses. We’ll put gas here and entertainment, which I’ll just abbreviate.
Now, you can clearly look at this pie chart and understand how the expenses are split up. Over here, you have money amounts. That’s important, because someone may want to know how much this person is spending on gas. They can look and see $50. What’s great about this right here is it helps the reader get a visual understanding of this information up here and helps them understand in their mind what percentage of the person’s income is being spent on what.
Someone can easily see here, “Okay, they’re spending less money on gas than they are on food, and they’re spending the same amount of money that they are on gas as entertainment, and they’re spending twice as much money on rent as they are on food.” It provides a very visual representation. When making a pie chart, it’s important that the writer title it, and they also need to understand what percentage of the whole each thing represents.
Here, someone needs to see entertainment ($50) and the total expenses are $400. They realize that 50 is one eighth of that. Entertainment can only be one eighth of this circle right here. If it was a bigger area of the circle, it would be disproportional and it wouldn’t clearly convey to the reader. The important thing here to remember is that a pie chart is a visual way to show how a category is divided up.