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spurious correlations

correlation is not causation

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where each of these is an academic paper

A linear line chart with years as the X-axis and two variables on the Y-axis. The first variable is Annual US household spending on alcoholic beverages and the second variable is The number of septic tank servicers and sewer pipe cleaners in New Hampshire.  The chart goes from 2003 to 2022, and the two variables track closely in value over that time. Small Image
View details about correlation #3,443


Pouring More Bucks on Booze: The Boozy Blues and Septic Tank Crews
As household spending on alcoholic beverages increased, more people experienced a pressing need for the services of septic tank servicers and sewer pipe cleaners in New Hampshire. Remember, when it rains, it pours – especially for those in the septic tank industry!




What else correlates?
Annual US household spending on alcoholic beverages · all weird & wacky
The number of septic tank servicers and sewer pipe cleaners in New Hampshire · all cccupations

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 Jack and the second variable is Number of public school students in 9th grade.  The chart goes from 1990 to 2022, and the two variables track closely in value over that time. Small Image
View details about correlation #1,951


Jack's Journey: A Jocular Jaunt into Junior High
Every time someone yells, "Hi, Jack!" at school, poor 9th graders keep thinking there's an emergency. They just can't catch a break!




What else correlates?
Popularity of the first name Jack · all first names
Number of public school students in 9th grade · all education

A linear line chart with years as the X-axis and two variables on the Y-axis. The first variable is Google searches for 'where can i stream friends' and the second variable is Lululemon's stock price (LULU).  The chart goes from 2008 to 2023, and the two variables track closely in value over that time. Small Image
View details about correlation #2,694


A Streamy Affair: Unveiling the Correlation Between 'Where Can I Stream Friends' Google Searches and Lululemon's Stock Price
As people frantically searched for where to watch Friends, they realized they needed some comfy athleisure to fully enjoy their binge-watching experience. So, they rushed to buy Lululemon leggings and loungewear, causing a surge in demand and driving up Lululemon's stock price. Loyal fans were determined to look as effortlessly stylish as Rachel or as cozy as Joey while re-watching their favorite episodes, creating an unexpected connection between 90s sitcoms and athleisure trends. Remember, Central Perk might be where Friends characters gathered, but it seems like Lululemon became the new Central Perk for fans to gather their wardrobe essentials! #BingewatchInStyle




What else correlates?
Google searches for 'where can i stream friends' · all google searches
Lululemon's stock price (LULU) · all stocks

A linear line chart with years as the X-axis and two variables on the Y-axis. The first variable is GMO use in corn grown in Michigan and the second variable is Number of registered Yamaha motorcycles in the UK.  The chart goes from 2000 to 2021, and the two variables track closely in value over that time. Small Image
View details about correlation #1,370


The Corny Connection: Exploring the Correlation Between GMO Corn in Michigan and Yamaha Motorcycles in the UK
As GMO corn in Michigan grew taller, it started emitting a frequency that strangely resonated with dormant Yamaha motorcycle engines in the UK, prompting a surge in registrations as they inexplicably revved to life. This unforeseen connection has left both farmers and bikers scratching their heads, but also secretly enjoying the unexpected collaboration between agriculture and the open road.




What else correlates?
GMO use in corn grown in Michigan · all food
Number of registered Yamaha motorcycles in the UK · all weird & wacky

A linear line chart with years as the X-axis and two variables on the Y-axis. The first variable is The distance between Saturn and the Sun and the second variable is Biomass power generated in India.  The chart goes from 1999 to 2021, and the two variables track closely in value over that time. Small Image
View details about correlation #5,931


Saturn's Stern Contribution: The Cosmic Relation Between Orbital Distance and India's Biomass Power Persistence
Saturn's cosmic good vibes reached out and inspired a surge in Indian biomass power production. As the ringed planet moved farther away, it created a gravitational pull that somehow supercharged the growth of biomass resources in India. It's a truly out-of-this-world explanation for a down-to-earth energy boost!




What else correlates?
The distance between Saturn and the Sun · all planets
Biomass power generated in India · 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 Brooklyn and the second variable is UFO sightings in Kentucky.  The chart goes from 1975 to 2021, and the two variables track closely in value over that time. Small Image
View details about correlation #2,674


Out of This World: The Stellar Connection between the Name Brooklyn and UFO Sightings in the Bluegrass State
As the name Brooklyn gained popularity, more parents were subconsciously drawn to space-themed nurseries, inadvertently creating a beacon for passing UFOs in Kentucky. Looks like the aliens couldn't resist a little East Coast flair in the Bluegrass State!




What else correlates?
Popularity of the first name Brooklyn · all first names
UFO sightings in Kentucky · 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 Rainfall in San Francisco and the second variable is The number of printing press operators in Rhode Island.  The chart goes from 2010 to 2022, and the two variables track closely in value over that time. Small Image
View details about correlation #2,948


Drip, Drip, Drop: The Curious Connection Between Rainfall in San Francisco and the Number of Printing Press Operators in Rhode Island
The rain in San Francisco created a demand for more intricate umbrella designs, leading to a surge in printing press work orders. Rhode Island, known for its skilled printing press operators, saw an opportunity to capitalize on this new market. As a result, the number of printing press operators in Rhode Island increased to meet the growing need for stylish and water-resistant umbrella patterns.




What else correlates?
Rainfall in San Francisco · all weather
The number of printing press operators in Rhode Island · all cccupations

A linear line chart with years as the X-axis and two variables on the Y-axis. The first variable is Popularity of the 'success kid' meme and the second variable is Average number of comments on Numberphile YouTube videos.  The chart goes from 2011 to 2023, and the two variables track closely in value over that time. Small Image
View details about correlation #5,959


The Meme-ing of Success: A Statistical Analysis of 'Success Kid' Popularity and its Influence on Numberphile YouTube Engagement
As 'success kid' memes spread, they unknowingly activated a subconscious urge in people to engage with intellectual content. The sight of a determined toddler fist-pumping his way to victory somehow sparked a hidden passion for mathematical and scientific discussions. It's as if the meme carried an invisible message saying, "You can comprehend complex concepts too, just like this triumphant baby!" This led to a surge in viewers flocking to Numberphile, eager to show that they too could achieve mental feats that would make even the 'success kid' proud. Who knew that a tiny tot celebrating his small triumphs would end up being the catalyst for an influx of numerical and theoretical conversations, proving that internet memes might just hold the key to unlocking our collective interest in all things numbers and patterns.




What else correlates?
Popularity of the 'success kid' meme · all memes
Average number of comments on Numberphile YouTube videos · all YouTube

A linear line chart with years as the X-axis and two variables on the Y-axis. The first variable is The distance between Uranus and Saturn and the second variable is Nuclear power generation in Brazil.  The chart goes from 1982 to 2021, and the two variables track closely in value over that time. Small Image
View details about correlation #2,310


The Power of Planetary Poles: Exploring the Ur-anus-Saturn Distance and Nuclear Energy in Brazil
As the gravitational tug-of-war between the distant planets intensified, it inadvertently boosted the productivity of Brazilian nuclear reactors. This celestial rearrangement led to a cosmic surge in energy output, proving once and for all that when it comes to Uranus, even the smallest space can make a big impact on Earth.




What else correlates?
The distance between Uranus and Saturn · all planets
Nuclear power generation in Brazil · all energy

A linear line chart with years as the X-axis and two variables on the Y-axis. The first variable is Burglaries in Oregon and the second variable is Viewership count for Days of Our Lives.  The chart goes from 1985 to 2021, and the two variables track closely in value over that time. Small Image
View details about correlation #1,218


The Days of Our Burglaries: An Examination of the Correlation Between Burglaries in Oregon and Viewership Count for Days of Our Lives
As burglaries decreased in Oregon, it meant that there were fewer opportunities for the infamous Salem Stalker to strike. With less crime to contend with, the characters in Days of Our Lives found themselves at a loss for dramatic, suspenseful storylines. After all, what's a soap opera without a good old-fashioned whodunit or a stolen family heirloom? With the decrease in burglaries, the show's writers struggled to keep the plot as gripping, leading to a decline in viewership count.




What else correlates?
Burglaries in Oregon · all random state specific
Viewership count for Days of Our Lives · all weird & wacky

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 Tiarra and the second variable is Google searches for 'why isnt 11 pronounced onety one'.  The chart goes from 2004 to 2021, and the two variables track closely in value over that time. Small Image
View details about correlation #1,041


The Tiarra Trend and Tedious Terminology: A Tantalizing Tale of Taming 'Onety One'
Fewer Tiarra's means fewer people insisting on unconventional number naming, leading to a gradual return to linguistic sanity.




What else correlates?
Popularity of the first name Tiarra · all first names
Google searches for 'why isnt 11 pronounced onety one' · all google searches

A linear line chart with years as the X-axis and two variables on the Y-axis. The first variable is Master's degrees awarded in Education and the second variable is GMO use in corn grown in Ohio.  The chart goes from 2012 to 2021, and the two variables track closely in value over that time. Small Image
View details about correlation #1,254


Kernel of Truth: Exploring the Cob-nnection Between Education Master's Degrees and GMO Corn Use in Ohio
As the expertise in Education waned, there was a ripple effect on the communication skills of the corn, leading to a dramatic decrease in their willingness to genetically modify themselves. It seems that when the students weren't around, the corn just couldn't cob with the pressure to keep up with the latest GMO trends. Or perhaps the corn just didn't want to deal with the extra ear-responsibility that comes with GMO modifications. Either way, it's a-maize-ing to see the unexpected connections between academic degrees and agricultural developments!




What else correlates?
Master's degrees awarded in Education · all education
GMO use in corn grown in Ohio · all food

A linear line chart with years as the X-axis and two variables on the Y-axis. The first variable is The distance between Saturn and Earth and the second variable is Fomento Econ's stock price (FMX).  The chart goes from 2002 to 2023, and the two variables track closely in value over that time. Small Image
View details about correlation #1,526


Stellar Stocks: The Celestial Correlation Between Saturn's Distance and Fomento Econ's Stock Price
As the gap widened, Saturn's gravitational pull on Earth weakened, leading to a surge in productivity on our planet. This ultimately boosted the economy, including the stock price of Fomento Econ. It's truly a stellar example of interplanetary economics at play!




What else correlates?
The distance between Saturn and Earth · all planets
Fomento Econ's stock price (FMX) · all stocks

A linear line chart with years as the X-axis and two variables on the Y-axis. The first variable is The number of phlebotomists in Minnesota and the second variable is Arson in United States.  The chart goes from 2012 to 2022, and the two variables track closely in value over that time. Small Image
View details about correlation #4,252


Drawing Blood to Understand Fire: The Correlation Between Phlebotomist Count in Minnesota and Arson Across the United States
As the number of phlebotomists in Minnesota decreased, there was a corresponding decrease in the amount of blood being drawn. This led to a nationwide reduction in the availability of blood, creating a shortage. As a result, there were fewer vampires in the United States. With fewer vampires around to cause mischief, the incidence of arson decreased. Remember, this is all a part of a wild and fictitious causal chain!




What else correlates?
The number of phlebotomists in Minnesota · all cccupations
Arson in United States · 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 How 'hip and with it' Numberphile YouTube video titles are and the second variable is Wind power generated in Latvia.  The chart goes from 2011 to 2021, and the two variables track closely in value over that time. Small Image
View details about correlation #4,554


Whimsical Wind: The Wacky World of Numberphile and Wind Power in Latvia
As the wind power in Latvia ramps up, it creates a surge of electrifyingly cool vibes that resonate with the Numberphile team. The mathematical energy in the air just adds an extra 'spin' to their creativity, prompting them to come up with pun-tastic, 'hip and with it' video titles that really 'blow' their audience away. It's like the winds of change are whispering mathematical inspiration directly to them, leading to a 'renewable' source of groovy video titles that just can't be 'contained'. So, in a nutshell, as Latvia's wind power goes up, Numberphile's 'cool factor' goes off the charts!




What else correlates?
How 'hip and with it' Numberphile YouTube video titles are · all YouTube
Wind power generated in Latvia · all energy

A linear line chart with years as the X-axis and two variables on the Y-axis. The first variable is American cheese consumption and the second variable is Popularity of the 'this is fine' meme.  The chart goes from 2006 to 2021, and the two variables track closely in value over that time. Small Image
View details about correlation #5,468


Aged Cheddar and This is Fine: A Gouda Connection Between American Cheese Consumption and Meme Popularity
As American cheese consumption melted hearts across the nation, people found themselves relating more to the unbothered demeanor of the 'this is fine' meme. It was a gouda match for those craving a cheesy sense of humor in the midst of life's fondue of chaos. The meme's popularity skyrocketed as folks embraced the idea of just breeing and letting things brie. It wheely seems like American cheese had a grate influence on the internet culture, provoloneing that sometimes all we need is a little laughter to keep ourselves feta.




What else correlates?
American cheese consumption · all food
Popularity of the 'this is fine' meme · all memes

A linear line chart with years as the X-axis and two variables on the Y-axis. The first variable is The distance between Jupiter and Mercury and the second variable is Anheuser-Busch InBev's stock price (BUD).  The chart goes from 2010 to 2023, and the two variables track closely in value over that time. Small Image
View details about correlation #2,734


Jovian Juxtaposition: Jupiter's Journey and Beer Stocks
As the gulf widened, investors found themselves reaching for more BUDs. The gravitational pull of profitability shifted, creating a stellar performance for the beer giant. With more space between the planets, BUD stock was able to eclipse the competition. As above, so below – the celestial dance of the planets brewed up hoppy returns for shareholders. It seems even in the vast expanse of the cosmos, Jupiter and Mercury were keg-fully influencing the earthly markets. This just goes to show, when it comes to BUD stock, the sky's the limit – or in this case, the solar system!




What else correlates?
The distance between Jupiter and Mercury · all planets
Anheuser-Busch InBev's stock price (BUD) · all stocks

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 Library science and the second variable is Google searches for 'how to hide a body'.  The chart goes from 2012 to 2021, and the two variables track closely in value over that time. Small Image
View details about correlation #1,840


Shh, Let's Dewey This Quietly: The Correlation Between Library Science Degrees and Google Searches for 'How to Hide a Body'
As more library science graduates entered the workforce, they sought to revolutionize traditional methods of categorization and storage. Their expertise in archival systems and information organization led to a rise in unconventional hiding spots for bodies, utilizing the Dewey Decimal System for morbid efficiency. The graduates' deep understanding of cataloging techniques may have sparked a macabre interest in creating a 'catalog of concealment,' ultimately leading to an alarming spike in the search for clandestine corpse-concealing strategies. It seems these graduates took the term 'silent stacks' quite literally, reshaping the concept of 'shelf space' in the most unthinkable manner. Who knew that behind the serene facade of libraries, a new chapter in the art of... cover-up would unfold? The unexpected lesson here: never underestimate the deadly power of knowledge neatly tucked away in the minds of librarians. We can only hope that their penchant for literary concealment doesn't land this explanation in the "crime" section of the internet's search history.




What else correlates?
Bachelor's degrees awarded in Library science · all education
Google searches for 'how to hide a body' · all google searches

A linear line chart with years as the X-axis and two variables on the Y-axis. The first variable is UFO sightings in South Carolina and the second variable is Total Number of Successful Mount Everest Climbs.  The chart goes from 1975 to 2011, and the two variables track closely in value over that time. Small Image
View details about correlation #2,423


The E.T. Connection: Exploring the Relationship Between UFO Sightings in South Carolina and Total Number of Successful Mount Everest Climbs
The aliens were big fans of extreme sports and decided to start an intergalactic Mount Everest fan club, providing secret technological assistance to climbers. Who knew that E.T. was an adrenaline junkie?




What else correlates?
UFO sightings in South Carolina · all random state specific
Total Number of Successful Mount Everest Climbs · all weird & wacky

A linear line chart with years as the X-axis and two variables on the Y-axis. The first variable is Popularity of the 'y u no' meme and the second variable is The number of loan interviewers and clerks in Nebraska.  The chart goes from 2006 to 2022, and the two variables track closely in value over that time. Small Image
View details about correlation #5,955


Popularity of the 'Y U No' Meme: A Meme-ticulous Examination of its Link to the Labor Market in Nebraska
As the 'y u no' meme gained popularity, it sparked a wave of introspection and questioning in Nebraska. People couldn't help but wonder 'y u no' understand the importance of financial responsibility. This led to a dramatic increase in loan interviews and clerks in Nebraska, as the meme inadvertently became a catalyst for prompting individuals to seek out loans and financial guidance. It's as if the meme was saying, 'Y u no manage your money better? Y u no apply for that loan?' and Nebraskans took it to heart, flooding the offices with loan inquiries. After all, when the internet speaks, apparently Nebraskans listen, especially when it comes to their personal finances.




What else correlates?
Popularity of the 'y u no' meme · all memes
The number of loan interviewers and clerks in Nebraska · all cccupations

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 Wind power generated in Lithuania.  The chart goes from 2004 to 2021, and the two variables track closely in value over that time. Small Image
View details about correlation #1,362


Stirring Up a Storm: Exploring the Correlation Between Butter Consumption and Wind Power Generation in Lithuania
As butter consumption increased, people naturally became more gaseous, creating a higher demand for wind power in Lithuania. The connection is quite a-moo-sing! More butter, more tootin’, more wind power spoutin’ in Lithuania! The correlation is udderly undeniable!




What else correlates?
Butter consumption · all food
Wind power generated in Lithuania · all energy

A linear line chart with years as the X-axis and two variables on the Y-axis. The first variable is Per capita consumption of margarine and the second variable is The divorce rate in Maine.  The chart goes from 2000 to 2009, and the two variables track closely in value over that time. Small Image
View details about correlation #5,920


Spreading Love and Margarine: An Examination of the Butter-Splitter Correlation in Maine
Perhaps as people used less margarine, they became less slippery in their relationships. The lack of artificial spread may have kept the couples from buttering each other up, leading to a decrease in overall marital strife. That's the reality when you can't believe it's not butter - it's a recipe for marital success. Alternatively, it could be that as the margarine consumption decreased, so did the overall slickness in the state, leading to fewer instances of partners feeling like they couldn't grip the marriage.




What else correlates?
Per capita consumption of margarine · all food
The divorce rate in Maine · all random state specific

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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
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