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spurious correlations

correlation is not causation

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A linear line chart with years as the X-axis and two variables on the Y-axis. The first variable is Air pollution in Wichita and the second variable is Teck Resources' stock price (TECK).  The chart goes from 2006 to 2023, and the two variables track closely in value over that time. Small Image
View details about correlation #1,943


Clearing the Air: Examining the Smoky Relationship Between Air Pollution in Wichita and Teck-ing Resources' Stock Price
The smog in Wichita created a strong demand for air purifiers, leading to a spike in the production of electronic components, which ultimately boosted the need for Teck Resources' mined materials like copper and zinc.




What else correlates?
Air pollution in Wichita · all weather
Teck Resources' stock price (TECK) · all stocks

A linear line chart with years as the X-axis and two variables on the Y-axis. The first variable is Popularity of the 'one does not simply' meme and the second variable is Votes for Republican Senators in Massachusetts.  The chart goes from 2006 to 2020, and the two variables track closely in value over that time. Small Image
View details about correlation #5,958


The Jovial Level: One Does Not Simply Meme Popularity and Republican Senatorial Votes in Massachusetts
As the 'one does not simply' meme gained popularity, it led to an unexpected surge in interest in Massachusetts politics. People across the state were captivated by the meme's clever spin on the concept of complexity. This heightened engagement prompted a greater turnout of Republican voters, who were inspired by the meme's assertion that certain tasks or outcomes were not as straightforward as they may seem. In a strange turn of events, the meme inadvertently served as a catalyst for energizing the Republican base in Massachusetts, ultimately impacting the votes for Senators. After all, in the world of politics, one does not simply underestimate the influence of internet memes!




What else correlates?
Popularity of the 'one does not simply' meme · all memes
Votes for Republican Senators in Massachusetts · all elections

A linear line chart with years as the X-axis and two variables on the Y-axis. The first variable is Final Match Score Difference in the Volkswagen Challenger Set and the second variable is The number of outdoor power equipment mechanics in Pennsylvania.  The chart goes from 2003 to 2012, and the two variables track closely in value over that time. Small Image
View details about correlation #2,455


Mowing the Competition: The Grassroots Influence of Outdoor Power Equipment Mechanics on Volkswagen Challenger Set Final Match Score Differences
As the Final Match Score Difference in the Volkswagen Challenger Set increased, so did the number of outdoor power equipment mechanics in Pennsylvania. It seems the players' performance was directly impacting the state's workforce. They really set the bar high, leading to a mow-tivational surge in mechanics wanting to leaf their own mark on the industry. It's like they say, when it comes to shaping the future of outdoor power equipment, every point counts!




What else correlates?
Final Match Score Difference in the Volkswagen Challenger Set · all sports
The number of outdoor power equipment mechanics in Pennsylvania · all cccupations

A linear line chart with years as the X-axis and two variables on the Y-axis. The first variable is Number of websites on the internet and the second variable is Total wind power generated globally.  The chart goes from 1991 to 2018, and the two variables track closely in value over that time. Small Image
View details about correlation #5,236


Energizing the Web: Uncovering the Link Between Online Domains and Wind Power Generation
As the internet expanded, it created a surge in cat video consumption. This led to an increase in laughter around the world, which in turn resulted in stronger and more frequent gusts of wind, ultimately boosting the total wind power generated globally. Remember, laughter is truly the best renewable energy source!




What else correlates?
Number of websites on the internet · all weird & wacky
Total wind power generated globally · all energy

A linear line chart with years as the X-axis and two variables on the Y-axis. The first variable is Popularity of the first name Tiffany and the second variable is Air pollution in Los Angeles.  The chart goes from 1980 to 2022, and the two variables track closely in value over that time. Small Image
View details about correlation #2,183


Smoggy with a Chance of Tiffany: The Correlation Between the Popularity of the Name Tiffany and Poor Air Quality in Los Angeles
As fewer Tiffanys were around, there were fewer people asking, "Isn't it just Tiff-any for a smoggy day in LA?". With less demand for punny pollution commentary, the air quality improved in a stroke of bizarre linguistic luck!




What else correlates?
Popularity of the first name Tiffany · all first names
Air pollution in Los Angeles · all weather

A linear line chart with years as the X-axis and two variables on the Y-axis. The first variable is Google searches for 'my cat scratched me' and the second variable is The Coca-Cola Company's stock price (KO).  The chart goes from 2008 to 2023, and the two variables track closely in value over that time. Small Image
View details about correlation #5,960


Analyzing the Purrfect Storm: A Feline Scratches and Coca-Cola Stock Price Correlation
As Google searches for 'my cat scratched me' went up, more people began to seek out the comfort of a cold, fizzy beverage. This led to a surge in demand for Coca-Cola products, ultimately driving up The Coca-Cola Company's stock price. It seems like even feline antics couldn't scratch the surface of Coca-Cola's success!




What else correlates?
Google searches for 'my cat scratched me' · all google searches
The Coca-Cola Company's stock price (KO) · all stocks

A linear line chart with years as the X-axis and two variables on the Y-axis. The first variable is Robberies in Alaska and the second variable is Professor salaries in the US.  The chart goes from 2009 to 2021, and the two variables track closely in value over that time. Small Image
View details about correlation #2,723


The Great Alaska Robbery: A Causative Correlation with Professorial Paychecks?
As robberies decreased in Alaska, the demand for security systems also decreased, leading to a surplus of security devices. This surplus put pressure on the manufacturing industry, causing companies to cut costs. Since many of these companies also happened to be major university donors, they had less funds available to contribute to professor salaries, ultimately leading to a nationwide decrease in pay for educators. This just goes to show that even the most unexpected trends can have a ripple effect on our economy and day-to-day lives. Remember, a safer Alaska could mean a lighter wallet for your favorite professor!




What else correlates?
Robberies in Alaska · all random state specific
Professor salaries in the US · all education

A linear line chart with years as the X-axis and two variables on the Y-axis. The first variable is Butter consumption and the second variable is Economic output of Washington metro area.  The chart goes from 2001 to 2021, and the two variables track closely in value over that time. Small Image
View details about correlation #1,172


Spreading Wealth: The Butter-ly Effect on the Economic Churn in the Washington Metro Area
As butter consumption increased, so did the number of buttery smooth business transactions, churning out profits and greasing the wheels of the local economy. The correlation is udderly undeniable - more butter, more economic power in the Washington metro area.




What else correlates?
Butter consumption · all food
Economic output of Washington metro area · all weird & wacky

A linear line chart with years as the X-axis and two variables on the Y-axis. The first variable is How good Numberphile YouTube video titles are and the second variable is The number of actuaries in Utah.  The chart goes from 2011 to 2021, and the two variables track closely in value over that time. Small Image
View details about correlation #4,630


The Actuarial Arithmetic: A Quantitative Analysis of Numberphile Video Titles and the Actuary Population in Utah
As the number of actuaries in Utah increases, so does their collective brainpower. This leads to a surge in mathematical prowess within the state. As a result, the residents of Utah become better at appreciating and understanding complex numerical concepts. This heightened numerical acumen creates a demand for even more engaging mathematical content, prompting Numberphile to step up their video title game. It's like a quadratic formula for success – as the actuaries square up in Utah, Numberphile's video titles experience exponential growth!




What else correlates?
How good Numberphile YouTube video titles are · all YouTube
The number of actuaries in Utah · all cccupations

A linear line chart with years as the X-axis and two variables on the Y-axis. The first variable is Kerosene used in Cuba and the second variable is Google searches for 'cia hotline'.  The chart goes from 2004 to 2021, and the two variables track closely in value over that time. Small Image
View details about correlation #1,102


Correlation between Cuban Kerosene Consumption and CIA Hotline Searches: A Curious Connection
This is clearly a case of spies being left in the dark! As the kerosene supply dwindled, Cuban spies had to cut back on their clandestine activities. Without enough fuel for their sneaky operations, they couldn't keep their hotline to the CIA burning. So, the reduction in kerosene usage in Cuba quite literally put a damper on their ability to make calls to the CIA hotline.




What else correlates?
Kerosene used in Cuba · all energy
Google searches for 'cia hotline' · all google searches

A linear line chart with years as the X-axis and two variables on the Y-axis. The first variable is Popularity of the first name Jordan and the second variable is Robberies in South Carolina.  The chart goes from 1985 to 2022, and the two variables track closely in value over that time. Small Image
View details about correlation #1,081


Jordan Robberies: A Study of the Correlation Between the Name and Crime in South Carolina
More babies were named Jordan, leading to an increased demand for personalized basketball jerseys. This demand caused a spike in underground jersey counterfeiting operations, ultimately leading to an uptick in overall criminal activity, including robberies, in South Carolina.




What else correlates?
Popularity of the first name Jordan · all first names
Robberies in South Carolina · all random state specific

A linear line chart with years as the X-axis and two variables on the Y-axis. The first variable is Bloomberg Money Stuff articles about insider trading and the second variable is Popularity of the 'bad luck brian' meme.  The chart goes from 2014 to 2023, and the two variables track closely in value over that time. Small Image
View details about correlation #5,891


Trading Meme: The Insider Connection Between Bloomberg's Money Stuff and 'Bad Luck Brian' Popularity
As fewer articles were published, insider traders had less guidance, leading to a series of comically unfortunate events in their attempts to make illicit gains. This inadvertently mirrored the classic 'bad luck Brian' meme, thus reducing the need for its online circulation.




What else correlates?
Bloomberg Money Stuff articles about insider trading · all weird & wacky
Popularity of the 'bad luck brian' meme · all memes

A linear line chart with years as the X-axis and two variables on the Y-axis. The first variable is Bachelor's degrees awarded in Liberal arts and the second variable is The number of pediatricians in Massachusetts.  The chart goes from 2012 to 2021, and the two variables track closely in value over that time. Small Image
View details about correlation #1,689


A Liberal Arts Prescription: The Pediatric Predicament in Massachusetts
As the number of Bachelor's degrees awarded in Liberal Arts decreased, there was a corresponding decrease in the availability of people who could properly interpret children's finger paintings, leading to a decline in accurate early developmental assessments. This ultimately resulted in a reduced number of qualified pediatricians in Massachusetts as the demand for quality crayon-based diagnostics exceeded the supply.




What else correlates?
Bachelor's degrees awarded in Liberal arts · all education
The number of pediatricians in Massachusetts · all cccupations

A linear line chart with years as the X-axis and two variables on the Y-axis. The first variable is Cheddar cheese consumption and the second variable is Solar power generated in Haiti.  The chart goes from 2012 to 2021, and the two variables track closely in value over that time. Small Image
View details about correlation #5,904


Grate Expectations: The Gouda News on Cheddar Cheese Consumption and Solar Power Generated in Haiti
As Cheddar cheese consumption increased, the collective brainpower of the population reached new heights. With innovative solutions, they developed a way to harness the renewable energy of cheese dreams, leading to a surge in solar power generation in Haiti. The Cheesy Brainwave Initiative has now sparked a gouda revolution in the energy sector! Curd you believe it?




What else correlates?
Cheddar cheese consumption · all food
Solar power generated in Haiti · all energy

A linear line chart with years as the X-axis and two variables on the Y-axis. The first variable is Popularity of the first name Caroline and the second variable is Newmont's stock price (NEM).  The chart goes from 2002 to 2022, and the two variables track closely in value over that time. Small Image
View details about correlation #3,645


Hair-Raising Connections: The Caroline Effect on Newmont's Stock Price
As the popularity of the name Caroline declined, fewer people were inspired to sing "Sweet Caroline," leading to a decrease in the demand for music. This caused a surplus of resources in the entertainment industry, so Newmont's stock, being a precious metals company, struck gold as resources were reallocated. In other words, it seems like Caroline's name wasn't the only thing getting mined!




What else correlates?
Popularity of the first name Caroline · all first names
Newmont's stock price (NEM) · all stocks

A linear line chart with years as the X-axis and two variables on the Y-axis. The first variable is Votes for the Democratic Presidential candidate in Texas and the second variable is Automotive recalls issued by BMW of North America.  The chart goes from 1976 to 2020, and the two variables track closely in value over that time. Small Image
View details about correlation #4,531


The Tenuous Tango: Texas Votes and Troublesome BMW Recalls
As support for the Democratic candidate surged in Texas, more and more people began using their BMWs to proudly display their political beliefs. The sudden uptick in BMW usage overloaded the vehicles, leading to malfunctions that ultimately prompted BMW of North America to issue a wave of automotive recalls. It seems the road to the White House was also paved with unexpected pit stops for BMW drivers in the Lone Star State!




What else correlates?
Votes for the Democratic Presidential candidate in Texas · all elections
Automotive recalls issued by BMW of North America · all weird & wacky

A linear line chart with years as the X-axis and two variables on the Y-axis. The first variable is Google searches for 'zombies' and the second variable is The number of real estate agents in North Dakota.  The chart goes from 2004 to 2022, and the two variables track closely in value over that time. Small Image
View details about correlation #1,070


Zombie Zeal and Real Estate: A Zany Zombieland Zest for Zombie Searches and Zesty Zillow Zones
As more people prepared for a potential zombie apocalypse, the demand for underground bunkers in North Dakota skyrocketed, leading to a boom in the real estate market and a sudden need for more agents to facilitate these unconventional property transactions. "Even the undead can't resist that North Dakota charm!"




What else correlates?
Google searches for 'zombies' · all google searches
The number of real estate agents in North Dakota · all cccupations

A linear line chart with years as the X-axis and two variables on the Y-axis. The first variable is The distance between Neptune and Mercury and the second variable is Petroluem consumption in Azerbaijan.  The chart goes from 1992 to 2021, and the two variables track closely in value over that time. Small Image
View details about correlation #1,058


Neptonian Nonsense: The Quirky Correlation Between Solar Distance and Petroleum Consumption in Azerbaijan
As the gravitational pull increased, it created a ripple effect on Earth's magnetic field, leading to improved fuel combustion efficiency in Azerbaijani vehicles.




What else correlates?
The distance between Neptune and Mercury · all planets
Petroluem consumption in Azerbaijan · all energy

A linear line chart with years as the X-axis and two variables on the Y-axis. The first variable is Popularity of the 'press f to pay respects' meme and the second variable is Boeing's stock price (BA).  The chart goes from 2006 to 2023, and the two variables track closely in value over that time. Small Image
View details about correlation #4,957


From lol to low: The Popularity of the 'press f to pay respects' meme and its Impact on Boeing's Stock Price
As the 'press f to pay respects' meme gained popularity, it led to an increase in internet traffic and keyboard usage. This higher demand for keyboards meant that more electronic components, including small parts manufactured by companies like Boeing, were needed. The surge in stock price for Boeing can be directly correlated to the unexpected meme-inspired need for their products, as the keyboard epidemic took hold of the nation.




What else correlates?
Popularity of the 'press f to pay respects' meme · all memes
Boeing's stock price (BA) · all stocks

A linear line chart with years as the X-axis and two variables on the Y-axis. The first variable is How provocative Matt Parker's YouTube video titles are and the second variable is Value of the Victoria's Secret Annual Fantasy Bra.  The chart goes from 2011 to 2019, and the two variables track closely in value over that time. Small Image
View details about correlation #4,629


Stand-Up Maths and Sexy Bras: Crunching the Numbers on Provocative Titles and Fantasy Valuation
As the provocative Stand-up Maths video titles become less attention-grabbing, there is a corresponding decline in mathematical intrigue. This inadvertently leads to a reduced demand for over-the-top mathematical lingerie calculations. The once highly coveted Victoria's Secret Annual Fantasy Bra, adorned with geometric patterns and equations, loses its appeal as the world of mathematics takes a less flashy, more subdued approach. In a strange turn of events, it seems the calculus of provocative video titles and the algebra of lingerie allure are intimately intertwined in a complex equation of societal fascination.




What else correlates?
How provocative Matt Parker's YouTube video titles are · all YouTube
Value of the Victoria's Secret Annual Fantasy Bra · all weird & wacky

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Why this works

  1. Data dredging: I have 25,237 variables in my database. I compare all these variables against each other to find ones that randomly match up. That's 636,906,169 correlation calculations! This is called “data dredging.” Fun fact: the chart used on the wikipedia page to demonstrate data dredging is also from me. I've been being naughty with data since 2014.
    Instead of starting with a hypothesis and testing it, I instead tossed a bunch of data in a blender to see what correlations would shake out. It’s a dangerous way to go about analysis, because any sufficiently large dataset will yield strong correlations completely at random.
  2. Lack of causal connection: There is probably no direct connection between these variables, despite what the AI says above. Because these pages are automatically generated, it's possible that the two variables you are viewing are in fact causually related. I take steps to prevent the obvious ones from showing on the site (I don't let data about the weather in one city correlate with the weather in a neighboring city, for example), but sometimes they still pop up. If they are related, cool! You found a loophole.
    This is exacerbated by the fact that I used "Years" as the base variable. Lots of things happen in a year that are not related to each other! Most studies would use something like "one person" in stead of "one year" to be the "thing" studied.
  3. Observations not independent: For many variables, sequential years are not independent of each other. You will often see trend-lines form. If a population of people is continuously doing something every day, there is no reason to think they would suddenly change how they are doing that thing on January 1. A naive p-value calculation does not take this into account. You will calculate a lower chance of "randomly" achieving the result than represents reality.

    To be more specific: p-value tests are probability values, where you are calculating the probability of achieving a result at least as extreme as you found completely by chance. When calculating a p-value, you need to assert how many "degrees of freedom" your variable has. I count each year (minus one) as a "degree of freedom," but this is misleading for continuous variables.

    This kind of thing can creep up on you pretty easily when using p-values, which is why it's best to take it as "one of many" inputs that help you assess the results of your analysis.
  4. Y-axes doesn't start at zero: I truncated the Y-axes of the graphs above. I also used a line graph, which makes the visual connection stand out more than it deserves. Nothing against line graphs. They are great at telling a story when you have linear data! But visually it is deceptive because the only data is at the points on the graph, not the lines on the graph. In between each point, the data could have been doing anything. Like going for a random walk by itself!
    Mathematically what I showed is true, but it is intentionally misleading. If you click on any of the charts that abuse this, you can scroll down to see a version that starts at zero.
  5. Confounding variable: Confounding variables (like global pandemics) will cause two variables to look connected when in fact a "sneaky third" variable is influencing both of them behind the scenes.
  6. Outliers: Some datasets here have outliers which drag up the correlation. In concept, "outlier" just means "way different than the rest of your dataset." When calculating a correlation like this, they are particularly impactful because a single outlier can substantially increase your correlation.

    Because this page is automatically generated, I don't know whether any of the charts displayed on it have outliers. I'm just a footnote. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
    I intentionally mishandeled outliers, which makes the correlation look extra strong.
  7. Low n: There are not many data points included in some of these charts. You can do analyses with low ns! But you shouldn't data dredge with a low n.
    Even if the p-value is high, we should be suspicious of using so few datapoints in a correlation.


Pro-tip: click on any correlation to see:

Project by Tyler Vigen
emailme@tylervigen.com · about · subscribe


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