Benford's Law Calculator

August 17, 2020

Benford's Law is a little known law that observes first digits in a naturally occurring data set. I recently discovered it after watching episode four ("Digits") of the Netflix original series Connected. The law states that given a set of data, the first digits do not display a uniform distribution, but instead are arranged in a way that the digit "1" occurs most often, followed by "2", "3", etc.

Per Wikipedia

"It has been shown that this result applies to a wide variety of data sets, including electricity bills, street addresses, stock prices, house prices, population numbers, death rates, lengths of rivers..."

Because of this, Benford's Law has been used to detect anomalies and fraud.

I found this fascinating and wanted to build a calculator to test it on my own.

Using React and a little bit of Recharts I created an app that lets you input data, grab the first digits, calculate the percent of occurrence, and outputs the data to a chart.

Play around with the app here. Screenshot of Benford's Law Calculator View source

I highly recommend taking a look into Benford's Law yourself. It's one of those mind-boggling pieces of information that makes you question everything you've learned 😁.

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