Creating a Population Pyramid Chart using Stacked Bar Charts with ReportPlus

Lucia Rodriguez / Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Pyramid charts are very popular visualizations when working with demographics as they are an easy way to show the age and male/female composition of a given country. While line charts are very common when describing the growth scale of any population, pyramids are preferred as they are ideal to detect any changes or significant differences.

Population Chart

What are Stacked Charts?

Stacked charts are basically bar, area, or column charts that do not overlap because they are placed on top of each other. Stacked bars, for example, present information in a horizontal comparison and are meant to help users visualize how each piece of data correlates to the whole data set.


ReportPlus steps up to the plate by adding a new feature for users: the ability to present stacked charts with a percentage distribution instead of the default 0-100 scale.

Why not use a Bar Chart instead?

In the case above, where what’s being compared is a set of aging ranges, bar charts would only be helpful when representing data by year. Take a look at the data below: the first one is a bar chart plotted by year, and the second one is the equivalent to the stacked chart above.

If you really need to see your data broken down by the exact dates, bar charts just aren’t the correct fit.

How this relates to Population Pyramids

Population pyramids usually display not one data series, but two: age and female/male ratio. You’ll therefore need to use a chart that supports two or more series.

Sample Population Data

Let us consider the following figures to create the visualization in the screenshot above. These include the age ranges for Seattle inhabitants along with the male/female population ratio.

When we create the widget in ReportPlus and choose the Stacked Bar visualization, the data will be plotted in the following way:

In order to create a pyramid, we’ll need the values for male and female to point in two different directions. Therefore, let’s create a calculated field that displays the opposite of the male population:

Then, hide your original “Male” field by toggling the “Is Visible” slider.

Your visualization will now look like the following one:

Formatting your Data

If you want or need, you can format the negative values in a different way by changing the “Negative number format”.

If you want the pyramid to show the values from highest to lowest, change one of the genders’ Sorting to “Asc”:

By default, the theme will be set to “The Blues”. Change your theme to any of ReportPlus’ more than 20 themes if you want to have more contrast between the figures.

Interested in trying this out?

Download a free trial of ReportPlus Desktop or ReportPlus iOS now, or contact us to get this ready for you!