Pareto chart Use and Example

A Pareto chart named after Vilfredo Pareto (an Italian Economist) is actually a bar chart in which all bars are ordered from largest to the smallest along with a line showing the cumulative percentage and count of the bars. The left vertical axis has the frequency of occurrence (number of occurrences), or some other important unit of measure such as cost. The right vertical axis contains the cumulative percentage of the total number of occurrences or a total of the particular unit of measure such as total cost. For the Pareto chart, the cumulative function is a concave function because bars (representing the reasons) are in decreasing order. A pareto chart is also called a Pareto distribution diagram.

A Pareto chart can be used when the following questions have their answer is “yes”

  1. Can data be arranged into categories?
  2. Is the rank of each category important?

Pareto charts are often used with analyzing defects in a manufacturing process or the most frequent reasons for customer complaints to help and determine the types of defects which are most prevalent (important) in a process. So a Company can focus to improve its efforts on particular important areas where it can make the largest gain or the lowest loss by eliminating causes of defects. So it’s easy to prioritize the problem areas using Pareto charts. The categories in the “tail” of the Pareto chart are called the insignificant factors.

Pareto chart Example

sample pareto diagram for an airline company

The Pareto chart given above shows the reasons for consumer complaints against airlines in 2004. Here each bar represents the number (frequency) of each complaint received. The major complaint receive are related to flight problems (such as cancellations, delays and other deviations from the schedule). The 2nd largest complaint is about customer service (rude or unhelpful employees, inadequate meals or cabin service, treatment of delayed passengers, etc.). Flight problems account for 21% of the complaints, while both the flight problems and customer service account for 40% of the complaints. The top three complaint categories account for 55% of the complaints. So, to reduce the number of complaints, airlines should need work on flight delays, customer service, and baggage problems.


  • Nancy R. Tague (2004). “Seven Basic Quality Tools”. The Quality Toolbox. Milwaukee, Wisconsin: American Society for Quality. p. 15. Retrieved 2010-02-05.

Muhammad Imdad Ullah

Currently working as Assistant Professor of Statistics in Ghazi University, Dera Ghazi Khan. Completed my Ph.D. in Statistics from the Department of Statistics, Bahauddin Zakariya University, Multan, Pakistan. l like Applied Statistics, Mathematics, and Statistical Computing. Statistical and Mathematical software used is SAS, STATA, GRETL, EVIEWS, R, SPSS, VBA in MS-Excel. Like to use type-setting LaTeX for composing Articles, thesis, etc.

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