# How to Clearly Label the Axes on a Statistical Histogram

The most complex part of interpreting a statistical histogram is to get a handle on what you want to show on the *x* and *y* axes. Having good descriptive labels on the axes will help. Most statistical software packages label the *x*-axis using the variable name you provided when you entered your data (for example, “age” or “weight”). However, the label for the *y*-axis isn’t as clear. Statistical software packages often label the *y*-axis of a histogram by writing “frequency” or “percent” by default. These terms can be confusing to others who have not studied statistics (unlike yourself): frequency or percentage of what?

Clarify the *y*-axis label on your histogram by changing “frequency” to “number of” and adding the name of what the *y*-variable is referring to. To modify a label that simply reads “percent,” clarify by writing “percentage of” and the name of what the *y*-variable is referring to.

This example shows a histogram of ages of the Best Actress Academy Award winners. Notice that the *y*-axis is clearly labeled as “Percentage of actresses in each age group.”