The Chart Below Shows How Frequently People in the USA

Lilie King
Written by Lilie

Scored a 7 twice in the writing test

April 4, 2021

The chart below shows how frequently people in the USA ate in fast food restaurants between 2003 and 2013.

Summarise the information by selecting and reporting the main features, and make comparisons where relevant.

This essay question is from Cambridge IELTS 12 Test 7 Writing Task 1.

Frequency of eating at fast food restaurants among people in the USA (2003-2013)

the chart below shows how frequently people in the usa

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Sample Essay

The bar chart displays the frequency with which people in the USA ate in fast-food outlets between 2003 and 2013.

Overall, in all three years, the two largest groups were those eating in fast-food restaurants once a week and those eating there once or twice a month. Those eating there daily and those never eating there, in comparison, accounted for the smallest proportions.

People eating in fast-food outlets once a week represented the largest segment of people in the USA in both 2003 and 2006, at about 31% and 33% respectively. However, the percentage dropped to roughly 27 in 2013. The proportion of those who fell into the “once or twice a month” category first declined from 30% to 25% between 2003 and 2006. It then went up significantly to around 33% in 2013, making this category the largest that year.

The proportion of those eating in fast-food restaurants several times a week varied between 15% and 20%, while the proportion eating there a few times a year showed an increase from approximately 13% to 15% over the period. By contrast, in none of the three years were more than 5% of people in either the “every day” or the “never” category. (202 words)

How to Write the Introduction Paragraph

The introductory paragraph should be a rewrite of the introductory text of the chart. Here are two ways to rewrite it.
  • The chart shows the frequency with which people in the USA ate in fast-food outlets between 2003 and 2013.
  • The chart shows, by frequency, the percentages of people in the USA who ate in fast-food outlets between 2003 and 2013.

How to Vary Your Language

Every day
  • Daily

Example     The proportion of people who ate in fast-food restaurants daily was never as high as 5% in any of the three years.

  • On a Daily Basis

There is no justification to use “on a daily basis”. It’s unnecessary verbiage.

Once a Week
  • Weekly

Please don’t change “once a week” to “weekly”. “Weekly” is too imprecise for the chart because it can mean once a week or several times a week.

Proportion of People

When writing your essay, you may say something like “the proportion of people who…increased.” You can use the constructions below to avoid repeating “proportion of people” too many times.

  • Largest/Smallest Group

Example     In all three years, the smallest groups were those eating in fast-food restaurants daily.

  • Largest/Smallest Segment

Example     Those eating in fast-food outlets once a week represented the largest segment of people in the USA in 2003.

  • Start Your Sentence With a Number

Example     No more than 5% of people were in either of the “every day” or “never” categories in any of the three years.

How to Group Data

I don’t think the most obvious features of the chart are which categories increased in 2013 and which decreased. That’s why I didn’t group them by trend. Instead, I grouped them according to which ones have big figures and which ones have smaller figures.

24 CommentsLeave A Comment

  1. The bar graph displays the frequency of public who used to have their foods from fast food outlets in USA between 2003 and 2013

  2. The given diagram provides the information about by which frequency humans in the USA eat in junk food outlets in the USA bounded by 2003 and 2013.
    Is this correct?

    1. Hi, John. Your paraphrase is incorrect because “about” cannot be followed by a prepositional phrase.

  3. Dear Lilie, in the first paragraph, can I start with these sentences: The bar chart compares the proportion of people in the USA who ate in fast food restaurants at certain frequencies in the year 2003, 2006 and 2013. Thanks a lot❤

  4. May i write “daily”, ” often in weekly” “on weekend”, ” sometimes in a year”.
    Also,tendency instead of frequency.

  5. Dear Lilie,
    I hope this message finds you well.
    The tips you mentioned in the end of the essay have been very helpful. Thank you for that.
    But, I have a question on my own analyses. Can we use the analyses below for the second and third groups, several times aweek and weekly?

    “The majority of people ate in fast-food restaurants weekly in both 2003 and 2006, at just over 30% and about 33%, respectively. Likewise, the percentage of people eating there several times a week experienced the same trend. Its proportion first increased from approximately 17% in 2003 to 20% in 2006, and then it witnessed a reduction in 2013, standing at just over 15%.”

    Best regards

    1. Hi, I think your text has a logical problem. “Likewise” doesn’t work here because your first sentence doesn’t describe trends whereas your second sentence does.
      (Be careful about “majority”. The person who checked this essay for me told me that 31% can be a majority because a majority can mean “more than any of the others”. However, when I used “majority” this way in another essay, I was told that it should only be used when the number is more than half (50%) of the total. I forgot to correct it back then but I’ve corrected it now and instead used “largest segment”. Please read the third paragraph again.)

  6. The given bar chat provides information about how often American people consumed food in the convenience restaurants in the years 2003 , 2006 and 2013.
    Overall, very a few people in the USA ate fast food in the restaurants every day; most people there went to the fast food restaurants once a week and once or twice a month during the given period.
    To begin with, the percentage of the American consumers in ready-made food restaurants once a week stood at considerably over 30 % in 2003, and next three years saw a significant increase by nearly 3 per cent, but in the following 9 years, the figure of the eaters dramatically declined to nearly 27 per cent in the 2013. In addition, the rate of Americans were in the fast food shops once or twice a month was 30 per cent in 2003, after which there was a steep decline by 5 % in 2006, but the next 9 years witnessed a significant rise to about 33% in 2013.
    Several times a week, nearly 17 per cent of population in the USA chose to eat food in the junk food restaurants in 2003, and in the following 3 years, the figure went up by 3 per cent, but the rate rapidly fell to just over 15 per cent in 2013.
    The USA had only 3 per cent of people who went daily to have meals in the restaurants in 2003, and the figure decreased slightly to nearly 3 % in 2003, and this rate didn’t change until 2013. A few times a year, nearly 13 per cent of people in the USA had food in the ready-made restaurants in 2003, and the rate continued to increase to 15 per cent in 2006, and the rate didn’t change until 2013. 5 per cent of Americans didn’t never went to have meals in fast food restaurants in 2003, but the rate went slightly went down by nearly 1 per cent in 2006 and 2013.

  7. Would you please provide a band for my essay?

    The chart gives data about frequency of eating fast food in the USA restaurants in the period of 10 years.

    it is noticeable that the highest and the second highest percentage is related to restaurant customers who ate fast food once per week or once or twice monthly. The lowest levels are dedicated to everyday customers and people who never ate fast food.

    looking at the largest percentages, we can see that around 30% of the USA citizens ate fast food once a week in 2003. This amount rose to a peak of 33% in 2006 and then fell to 28% in 2013. Around 30% of the USA residents ate fast food once or twice per month in 2003. It decreased to 25% in 2006, and increased considerably to 33% in the last year. People who ate fast food several times a week and a few times per year are ranked in the next places, by about 15% to 20% and 10% to 15%, respectively.

    Turning to the lowest percentages, it is clear that around 4% of people bought fast food everyday in 2003. It dipped to 3% in 2006 and 2013. We can see a roughly similar patter about citizens who did not eat fast food in restaurants at all. The related figure is 5% in 2003, which decreased to 4% in later years.

    1. Hi, both are okay but I personally like to write the overview paragraph immediately after the introductory paragraph.

  8. “… while in 2006 and 2013 majority preferred to ate from fast food more frequently, i.e. once a week …”
    Is it ok to use “i.e.”?

      1. In paragraph 3 you used=to 33% in 2013.But my question is this graph not exact 33% it will be about/around 33% right?

  9. Can you please provide band for my task.

    A glance at the column graph provided reveals some striking changes in the frequency of eating at fast foods restaurants among people in the USA from 2003 to 2013.

    Overall, it is evident that percentage of people visiting “once a week” and “once or twice a month” at restaurants tops the chart.

    Proportion of people visiting fast food restaurants “every day” in 2003 were at approx 4% which slightly fell to about 3% in 2006 and 2013. Similarly, when we make comparison to the frequency of visitors who had “never” ate in fast food restaurants marked almost similar fall in levels, 5% in 2003 and 4% in the both years.

    It is interesting to note that frequency of people eating at restaurants “once a week” in 2003 was 30% which significantly climbed to around 33% in the year 2006 at its peak, after which it plunges to 27% in 2013. However, fluctuations were noticed in the frequency of people going to restaurants “once or twice a month”; firstly, in 2003 the graph indicates 30% which decline dramatically to 25% in 2006 and lastly it jumped to at its peak of 33%. Likewise, variations were notice in the frequency of people visiting “several times a week” between 15% and 20%. Percent of people visiting “a few times a year” increased and remained stable until 2013.

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