Cascade/waterfall chart of skyscrapers built in 2017 by country

Skyscrapers Built in 2017

Over half (76 of 144) of the skyscrapers were built in China in 2017 as shown in this cascade/waterfall chart. Many of the rest were also in Asia with only 15 in the U.S. and Canada. Shenzhen alone added 12 new skyscrapers. Data on buildings over 200 meters tall was compiled by the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat.

The US was second with 10 completed skyscrapers, 4 of which were in New York City.  South Korea had 7 with 4 in Busan.  Canada and Indonesia had 5 each.  All 5 of Indonesia's were in Jakarta and 4 of Canada's 5 were in Toronto.  Malaysia, UAE, Turkey and North Korea had 4 each.  India and the Philippines had three each.

Cascade/Waterfall Chart with Data Row

Cascade/waterfall chart of skyscrapers built in 2017 by country

How I Created The Cascade Chart

My focus in creating the chart was to show how a surprising (to me) number of skyscrapers were built in China and other Asian countries and how few were built in North America and Europe.  I thought about using a Marimekko chart with either cities or countries as the segments and regions (Asia, North America, rest of world) as the bars.  This chart added complexity, but did not add much information.

I then considered a breakdown by country using a pie, 100% stacked bar or cascade/waterfall chart.  I chose the cascade for two reasons:

  • I could show more countries (bars) legibly in the chart than I could show legible segments in a 100% stacked bar
  • and I could add the data row to the cascade to show the top city in each country and the number of skyscrapers built in that city.

Here is how I built the chart:

  • download to Excel the data for each of the buildings completed in 2017 from a table on the web
  • use Excel text manipulation formulas and vlookup to add columns to the data for city, country and region
  • create a PivotTable from the Excel data
  • try various chart options with the PivotTable data before settling on cascade chart
  • manually group smaller countries into a rest of world bar
  • hide the y axis, except the axis title
  • add the data row to the cascade chart for top city
  • show percentage in the segments of the cascade, hiding values in the smaller segments
  • color bars for Asia, North America and rest of world
  • add a legend
  • delete and edit legend items to create the three item legend shown

Take This Chart and Make It Your Own

Download this chart and edit it using Mekko Graphics. To learn more about cascade/watefall charts, visit All About Cascade Charts on our website or see these examples from our Chart Gallery.

Watch the recording of my webinar Creating Better Cascade Charts to learn how to use these charts and how to harness best practices to make your cascade charts more compelling.