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Describing Line Graphs (5) - Making Comparisons

 

Simple Graph

This graph shows the change in population in two countries from 1996 to 2007. In describing this graph it is important to describe change as in any other graph, but it is also necessary to make comparisons between the two countries.

What changes are shown by this graph? In this case we can see that the population of Austria increased from 1996 to 2007.

Also in this graph the Austrian line is fairly smooth, so we can say that the population increased steadily.

How big was the change in Austria's population? The population in 1996 was 7.95 million and in 2007 it was 8.3 million. So there was an increase of 0.35 million or 350,000 people.

By contrast, the population of Bulgaria decreased from 1996 to 2007.

This change did not happen at the same rate. The population declined steadily from 1996 to 2001, but from 2001 to 2002 the rate of decline was steeper. From 2002 to 2007 the population fell at a similar rate to the 1996 - 2001 period.

How far did Bulgaria's population fall? The population in 1996 was nearly 8 million and in 2007 it was 7.7 million. So there was an decrease of nearly 0.7 million or 700,000 people.

What similarities or differences are there between the populations of Austria and Bulgaria?

Austria
Bulgaria
Austria's population grew from 1996 to 2007. Bulgaria's population fell from 1996 to 2007.
Austria's population growth was fairly steady over the 1996 - 2007 period.

The rate of decline in Bulgaria's population varied over the 1996 - 2007 period.

Austria's population increased by 350,000. Bulgaria's population declined by 700,000

 

To write a short description of this graph ask yourself (and answer!) the following questions:

  1. What exactly does the graph show? (Use the chart title to help you answer this question)
  2. What are the axes and what are the units?
  3. What changed?
  4. How much did it change?
  5. What comparisons can you make between the two data series?

Answering these questions will help you to write a short description of this graph.

Here is an example:

This graph shows population change in Austria and Bulgaria from 1996 to 2007. Austria's population grew steadily from 7.95 million in 1996 to 8.3 million in 2007, a increase of 350,000 people.

By contrast, Bulgaria's population fell over the same period. The population declined steadily from 1996 to 2001, but from 2001 to 2002 the rate of decline was steeper. From 2002 to 2007 the population fell at a similar rate to the 1996 - 2001 period.

While Austria's population grew by 350,000, Bulgaria's fell by twice that number, 700,000, a decline of nearly 10%.

 

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