# Histogram versus Bar Plot

From Open Risk Manual

## Histogram versus Bar Plot

**Histograms** are visualizations of frequency (probability) distributions of suitable binned numerical variables. **Bar Plots** are instead visualizations of the different values of a Categorical Variable.

While superficially the apperance is the same, histograms and bar plots have quite different semantics:

- In a histogram, the number of bins is variable (user defined) but their ordering is not
- In categorical variable bar plot, the number of bars is given (the distinct values of the variable) but their ordering is arbitrary.
- Many of the probabilistic concepts that one can read from a histogram (the overall shape and properties of the distribution) are not meaningful for a bar plot.
- In general the height of the bar in a bar plot will not have the meaning of a frequency