Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Misleading chart in Freakanomics

Freakanomics today published a very misleading chart.

This chart has fascinating data, but the presentation is deeply misleading.
It appears that the radius of the circle is proportional to the dollars / victims.
But since the area goes as the square of the radius, the differences are vastly exaggerated.
The American Heart Association has 10 million victims, about 8 times the 1.2 million victims of the National Tuberculosis Foundation, but the grey circle of the AHA looks abous 100 times bigger than the grey circle of the NTA.
It would be more responsible to do a simple bar chart of dollars / victim: not as sexy of a chart, but a much more relevant comparison.

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