Cumulative Distribution Function

Cumulative Distribution

View an interactive snippet here.


Cumulative Distribution is a method for analysing the distribution of a quantity, similar to histograms. They show, for each value of a quantity, what fraction of rows are smaller or greater.
One method for calculating it is as follows:

  -- If necessary, use a row_number window function to get the position of this row in the dataset
  (ROW_NUMBER() OVER (ORDER BY <quantity>)) / (SELECT COUNT(*) FROM <schema.table>) AS cume_dist,
FROM <schema.table>


  • quantity - the column containing the metric of interest
  • schema.table - the table with your data


WITH data AS (
    SELECT md5(RANDOM()::TEXT) AS username_hash,
           RANDOM() AS random_number,
    FROM GENERATE_SERIES(1, 10) AS row_number

  --we do not need to use a row_number window function as we have a generate_series in our test data set
  (row_number::FLOAT / (SELECT COUNT(*) FROM data)) AS frac,
FROM data;
username_hash frac random_number
f9689609b388f96ac0846c69d4b916dc 0.1 0.48311887726926983
68551a63b1eb24c750408dc20c6e4510 0.2 0.7580949364508456
86b915387b7842c33c52e71ada5488d2 0.3 0.9461365697398278
2f9b8d13471f5f8896c073edc4d712a8 0.4 0.2723711331889973
27cd443183f886105001f337d987bdaa 0.5 0.2698584751712403
370ce4710f9900fa38f99494d50b9275 0.6 0.011248462980887552
98d2b23c493e44a395a330ca2d349a47 0.7 0.7387236527452572
328ac83d33498f81a6b1e70fb8e0dcbb 0.8 0.5815637247802528
9426739e865d970e7c932c37714b32f0 0.9 0.5957734211030683
452a9d8f21c9773fbd5d832138d0d4d1 1 0.9090960753850368