Bar Mekko Chart of Federal Budget Growth by Category

Federal Budget Growth in a Bar-Mekko Chart

A Mekko Graphics customer sent me a presentation on the Australian government budget.  It charted budget growth versus budget size by spending category in a bar-mekko chart.  I decided to try and reproduce the chart for the U.S. Federal budget.  I found a web site with budget stats ( and created the following chart:


The chart presents the projected compound annual growth in seven major spending categories from 2012 to 2017 along the Y axis and the size of the spending category in 2012 along the  axis (and as a data row).  The three major categories of non-discretionary spending are projected to increase significantly--interest, health care and pensions--and the discretionary spending categories (defense, education and other) are projected to decrease.

The bar-mekko is a good chart for comparing a percentage change to an absolute amount.  You can use it to highlight revenue or spending growth compared to current revenue or spending by category.  The analysis is valuable for both business and governments.

Here is the chart in PowerPoint for you to see how it was created: