Filip Spagnoli | Lies, Damned Lies, and Statistics

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Filip Spagnoli | Lies, Damned Lies, and Statistics

The following example is about income shares across the population of the U.S. Technically, the graph below is not a histogram because the y-axis shows cumulated income for ranges of income groups rather than frequencies, but for our purposes it’s equivalent:

Wall Street Journal Graph of Income Distribution

This graph is then used by the Wall Street Journal to argue against increased taxation of the rich as a means to close the budget deficit, because supposedly that’s not where the money is.


The problem is that the highest bar in their graph is for people making $100-$200K, whereas the bar immediately to the left of this one is for the income range of $75K to $100K – an income range only one-quarter the size. No surprise that the bar for $100-$200K is so much larger than the rest…