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pie-chart, pie-graph A form of descriptive statistics in which data are presented graphically or pictorially as in the hypothetical illustration below. Here, we show the relative proportions of people who are admitted to universities, based on social-class background. The distribution has been divided into four social classes (salariat, self-employed, routine clerical, working class), and the ‘pie’ has been divided into ‘slices’ proportional in size to the frequency of university admission in the various categories. The principal advantage of this way of presenting data is that it makes it easy to see the proportion of the total pie obtained by each category. Where the primary intention of the presentation is to compare the relative sizes of categories then a conventional bar chart is to be preferred.

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