How to Create a Pareto Chart in R (Step-by-Step)


A Pareto chart is a type of chart that displays the frequencies of different categories along with the cumulative frequencies of categories.

Pareto chart in R

This tutorial provides a step-by-step example of how to create a Pareto chart in R.

Step 1: Create the Data

Suppose we conduct a survey in which we ask 350 different people to identify their favorite cereal brand between brands A, B, C, D, and E.

The following dataset shows the total votes for each brand:

#create data
df <- data.frame(favorite=c('A', 'B', 'C', 'D', 'E', 'F'),
                 count=c(140, 97, 58, 32, 17, 6))

#view data
df

  favorite count
1        A   140
2        B    97
3        C    58
4        D    32
5        E    17
6        F     6

Step 2: Create the Pareto Chart

To create a Pareto chart to visualize the results of this survey, we can use the pareto.chart() function from the qcc package:

library(qcc)

#create Pareto chart
pareto.chart(df$count)

Pareto chart analysis for df$count
     Frequency  Cum.Freq. Percentage Cum.Percent.
  A 140.000000 140.000000  40.000000    40.000000
  B  97.000000 237.000000  27.714286    67.714286
  C  58.000000 295.000000  16.571429    84.285714
  D  32.000000 327.000000   9.142857    93.428571
  E  17.000000 344.000000   4.857143    98.285714
  F   6.000000 350.000000   1.714286   100.000000

The table in the output shows us the frequency and cumulative frequency of each brand. For example:

  • Frequency of brand A: 140 | Cumulative frequency: 140
  • Frequency of brand B: 97 | Cumulative frequency of A, B: 237
  • Frequency of brand C: 58 | Cumulative frequency of A, B, C: 295

And so on.

Step 3: Modify the Pareto Chart (Optional)

The following code shows how to modify the title of the chart along with the color palette used:

pareto.chart(df$count,
             main='Pareto Chart for Favorite Cereal Brands',
             col=heat.colors(length(df$count)))

Pareto chart in R

You can find a complete list of color palettes available in this R Color Cheat Sheet.

Additional Resources

How to Create Frequency Tables in R
How to Create a Relative Frequency Histogram in R
How to Calculate Cumulative Sums in R

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