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About Spurious Correlations

Spurious correlations a project that is fun first, and mildly educational second. It's great to occasionally break all the rules just to see what happens!

You shouldn't take this project as a warning against believing research. You also shouldn't take it as an afront on correlations or p-values. These are useful tools when used correctly.

If you are thinking, "I've seen charts like these before," you probably have and they were probably mine! The original version of spurious correlations was published on the web in 2014, and in book form in 2015. I am that same guy. These charts are also frequently used in class materials, textbooks, and elsewhere because they are not copywritten.

In January 2024, I released a big update to the project based on user feedback. I added 25,000 new variables, improved and expanded the discover feature, and added a sprinkle of GenAI (including spurious scholar). Thank you to all the teachers, students, and other nerds who provided input on this version!

I intend to write a bit more about how I built this. If you'd like to read it when I finish, you can email me and I'll send it to you: emailme@tylervigen.com.

Common Questions

Can I use your charts for...?

Yes. Absolutely. Anything posted on here is released under a Creative Commons Attribution License (see my full spiel about this here). You can use content from this site for any purpose, even commercial purposes. You have my permission to remix and repost and re-whatever. The condition is just that you mention where you got it.

You can email me at permission@tylervigen.com to ask permission, but there's really no reason to. I'm just going to say yes. If you need a release form signed, please use my auto-release-form-signer before emailing me. It's not that I mind getting emails, it's just that I want to make sure you get your form signed quickly. My robot signer is much faster than I am.

I do enjoy hearing how you used my charts, so if you email me with "FYI I used your charts," I will appreciate that!

How do I get in touch with you?

If you have feedback, questions, comments, or inquiries shoot me an email: emailme@tylervigen.com (Yes this is a real email that really goes to me.)

If you email media@tylervigen.com, I'll get the email slightly faster.

How do you pronounce your last name?

Vigen is pronounced "vegan," like I don't eat meat.

Where do you get your data?

It's even more manual of process than you are imagining! The links located in the "data details" section will show you the source of the data for any variable.

If you click on a link and think, "but it looks like there were still a lot of steps to get from this data source to the version I see on spurious correlations," the answer is yes, I did all those steps, and yes, it took exactly as long as you think it did.

What chart creation software do you use?

I don't use a standard charting library for the line charts. None of the existing charting libraries did exactly what I wanted, so I built my own. I don't recommend doing this. Instead, here are some great chart creation options that I have used before:

How do I hear about future projects?

If you'd like to hear about future projects, the best way is to receive an email when they're completed. Be warned: I don't send very many emails.

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

CC BY 4.0