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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 Popularity of the first name Johnny and the second variable is Burglaries in New Hampshire.  The chart goes from 1985 to 2022, and the two variables track closely in value over that time. Small Image
View details about correlation #2,496


Johnny's Jinx: Unveiling the Link Between Johnny's Popularity and Burglaries in New Hampshire
It turns out there was a secret underground network of mischievous Johnnys who were all about causing trouble. With fewer Johnnys around, there was a notable decrease in rogue antics and shenanigans. The Johnny Effect strikes again!




What else correlates?
Popularity of the first name Johnny · all first names
Burglaries in New Hampshire · 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 Pirate attacks globally and the second variable is Google searches for 'download firefox'.  The chart goes from 2009 to 2022, and the two variables track closely in value over that time. Small Image
View details about correlation #2,204


Ahoy, Matey! Navigating the High Seas of Internet Search Behavior: A Correlational Analysis of Pirate Attacks and Google Searches for 'Download Firefox'
As pirate attacks decreased, more pirates decided to pursue careers in technology. These ex-pirates, with their love for the sea and all things nautical, joined forces with the Firefox web browser team, leading to the development of a new sea-themed update. This update, complete with a swashbuckling interface and an 'arrr-some' new features, created a wave of excitement in the tech world. As a result, people no longer just wanted to download Firefox, they wanted to 'yo-ho-ho' and download Firefox for the high seas of the internet! This ultimately led to a decrease in searches for 'download Firefox' as the browser became the go-to choice for anyone looking for a more 'ship-shape' internet browsing experience. So, remember, matey, it's not just about navigating the web, it's about setting sail on the digital seas with Firefox!




What else correlates?
Pirate attacks globally · all weird & wacky
Google searches for 'download firefox' · all google searches

A linear line chart with years as the X-axis and two variables on the Y-axis. The first variable is Milk consumption and the second variable is The divorce rate in Colorado.  The chart goes from 1999 to 2021, and the two variables track closely in value over that time. Small Image
View details about correlation #1,038


Got Milk? The Dairy Do-s and Don't-s of Divorce: A Statistical Analysis of Milk Consumption and the Divorce Rate in Colorado
As milk consumption decreased, people became less lactose intolerant. This led to fewer cases of dairy-related tummy aches, reducing overall irritability in marriages. Plus, with less milk being poured, there were fewer opportunities for milk-related kitchen arguments. And as we all know, a household free of lactose-fueled bickering is a recipe for marital bliss. So, drink your milk, save a marriage – it's udderly ridiculous but apparently, there's whey to happiness!




What else correlates?
Milk consumption · all food
The divorce rate in Colorado · 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 Air pollution in Sioux City, Iowa and the second variable is Tesla's stock price (TSLA).  The chart goes from 2011 to 2021, and the two variables track closely in value over that time. Small Image
View details about correlation #2,103


Air Pollution in Sioux City: A Shock to Tesla's Stock?
The smog in Sioux City created a higher demand for electric cars, leading to a spike in interest and purchases of Tesla vehicles. As more people sought environmentally friendly transportation options, Tesla's stock price soared, proving that even pollution has a way of inadvertently promoting clean energy!




What else correlates?
Air pollution in Sioux City, Iowa · all weather
Tesla's stock price (TSLA) · all stocks

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 Transportation and the second variable is The number of cartographers in New Mexico.  The chart goes from 2012 to 2020, and the two variables track closely in value over that time. Small Image
View details about correlation #3,081


Mastering the Routes: The Intersect of Transportation Master's Degrees and Cartographers in New Mexico
As fewer people mastered the art of transportation, there was a breakdown in the cartographic community, leading to a shortage of map-making expertise in New Mexico. It seems the path to becoming a master cartographer hit a roadblock with the decline in transportation-related knowledge. Maybe they just couldn't navigate their way to obtaining those advanced degrees. It's a bumpy road for cartography in the Land of Enchantment. But in reality, it's more likely that the demand for cartographers in New Mexico also decreased, independent of the number of Master's degrees awarded in Transportation.




What else correlates?
Master's degrees awarded in Transportation · all education
The number of cartographers in New Mexico · all cccupations

A linear line chart with years as the X-axis and two variables on the Y-axis. The first variable is Age of the director who won the Best Picture award and the second variable is Google searches for 'how to treat a snake bite'.  The chart goes from 2004 to 2022, and the two variables track closely in value over that time. Small Image
View details about correlation #1,505


Director's Age: A Snake Bite or a Bait? A Correlational Analysis of Best Picture Winners and Google Searches for Snake Bite Treatment
As directors get older, they become more skilled at storytelling. This newfound expertise in captivating audiences translates to creating more engaging educational content about snake bites. Their advanced age also means they have accumulated wisdom and experience, leading to more thorough and effective snake bite treatment methods being depicted in their films. The connection between aging filmmakers and snake bite knowledge may be serpentine, but it’s definitely not a plot twist!




What else correlates?
Age of the director who won the Best Picture award · all films & actors
Google searches for 'how to treat a snake bite' · all google searches

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 Illinois and the second variable is Geothermal power generated in Iceland.  The chart goes from 2000 to 2021, and the two variables track closely in value over that time. Small Image
View details about correlation #2,048


Stalks and Volcanoes: Exploring the Cornnection Between GMO Corn in Illinois and Icelandic Geothermal Power
As more GMO corn was grown in Illinois, the surplus corn husks were shipped to Iceland, where they were used as insulation around geothermal power plants, leading to greater efficiency and higher power generation. This basically meant that the corn was finally getting its "ear-responsibility" for powering up homes.




What else correlates?
GMO use in corn grown in Illinois · all food
Geothermal power generated in Iceland · 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 Kenzie and the second variable is UFO sightings in South Dakota.  The chart goes from 1976 to 2021, and the two variables track closely in value over that time. Small Image
View details about correlation #1,211


Out of This World Name: The Kenzie Phenomenon and Unidentified Flying Objects in South Dakota
As the number of Kenzies grew, so did the collective cosmic energy they emitted, inadvertently attracting UFOs to South Dakota like trendy, intergalactic hotspots. It seems the universe just couldn't resist a chance to meet the cool, new Kens and Zies on Earth, leading to some otherworldly encounters in the Mount Rushmore State. Who knew that the secret to making contact with extraterrestrial beings was simply to have more Kenzies around, creating a celestial phenomenon that's truly out of this world!




What else correlates?
Popularity of the first name Kenzie · all first names
UFO sightings in South Dakota · 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 The distance between Neptune and the Sun and the second variable is Air pollution in Washington, D.C..  The chart goes from 1980 to 2023, and the two variables track closely in value over that time. Small Image
View details about correlation #3,072


Out of This World Pollution: Exploring the Neptune-Sun Distance and Air Quality in Washington, D.C.
As Neptune cozied up to the Sun, its mysterious space vibes disrupted the fossil fuel particles in D.C., rendering them into clean, sustainable air. Now introducing the revolutionary new planetary air purifier - Neptune: The Eco-Friendly Gas Giant!




What else correlates?
The distance between Neptune and the Sun · all planets
Air pollution in Washington, D.C. · all weather

A linear line chart with years as the X-axis and two variables on the Y-axis. The first variable is The number of biological technicians in Maryland and the second variable is Customer satisfaction with Sprint.  The chart goes from 2004 to 2020, and the two variables track closely in value over that time. Small Image
View details about correlation #1,049


The Technician Tonic: A Statistical Analysis of the Relationship Between Biological Technicians in Maryland and Customer Satisfaction with Sprint
As the number of biological technicians in Maryland increased, so did the local flora and fauna. The lush greenery and vibrant ecosystem had an unexpected side effect - it boosted people's moods and overall happiness. This ripple of joy spread throughout the state, reaching Sprint customers and leading to a surge in their satisfaction. Who would have thought that a couple of extra technicians could lead to such a wild connection?




What else correlates?
The number of biological technicians in Maryland · all cccupations
Customer satisfaction with Sprint · all weird & wacky

A linear line chart with years as the X-axis and two variables on the Y-axis. The first variable is Season rating of Two and a Half Men and the second variable is Jet fuel used in Serbia.  The chart goes from 2006 to 2015, and the two variables track closely in value over that time. Small Image
View details about correlation #2,700


Fueling Laughter: Exploring the Comedic Connection Between 'Two and a Half Men' Season Ratings and Jet Fuel Consumption in Serbia
As the laughter from the show echoed across the globe, it somehow harmonized with the molecular structure of jet fuel, prompting a spontaneous and inexplicable multiplication effect. It's as if the antics of Charlie, Alan, and Jake contained some elusive comedic element that acted as a catalyst for the combustion of aviation fuel. This unforeseen consequence has left experts both baffled and oddly entertained.




What else correlates?
Season rating of "Two and a Half Men" · all films & actors
Jet fuel used in Serbia · all energy

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 South Dakota and the second variable is Google searches for 'i cant even'.  The chart goes from 2004 to 2023, and the two variables track closely in value over that time. Small Image
View details about correlation #2,406


Maizey or Maybes: The Correlation Between GMO Corn in South Dakota and 'I Can't Even' Google Searches
It's a-maize-ing! The GMO corn was feeling a little too corny, leading to a kernel of existential crisis. As it turns out, when you're genetically modified to resist pests, but not existential angst, you end up with a-maize-ing levels of confusion. Plus, all the cross-pollination with other crops had everyone feeling a-llama-nted. It's like the corn just couldn't even cob-cept that it was part of a larger stalk-er system. And that, my friends, is how GMO corn in South Dakota led to a-maize-ing levels of 'i cant even' searches.




What else correlates?
GMO use in corn grown in South Dakota · all food
Google searches for 'i cant even' · 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 'its wednesday my dudes' 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 #4,977


It's Hump Day for Boeing: Exploring the Relationship Between the 'its wednesday my dudes' Meme Popularity and Boeing's Stock Price
As the 'its wednesday my dudes' meme gained popularity, more and more people found themselves unexpectedly drawn to midweek enthusiasm. This led to a surge in productivity and innovative thinking among the general populace every Wednesday. Coincidentally, Boeing's top engineers and executives were also infected by this midweek fervor, leading to a remarkable spike in groundbreaking aircraft designs and business strategies. This, in turn, delighted investors, who couldn't help but buy up Boeing's stock, propelling it to new heights. Who knew that a simple midweek meme could send Boeing soaring towards success, making Wednesday not just a day of the week, but a day of financial triumph!




What else correlates?
Popularity of the 'its wednesday my dudes' 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 Associates degrees awarded in Health professions and the second variable is The number of vending machine repairers in Mississippi.  The chart goes from 2011 to 2021, and the two variables track closely in value over that time. Small Image
View details about correlation #3,096


The Healthy Snack Attack: A Vending Machine Repairer's Paradise?
As more people realized they didn't actually need an Associates degree to pursue a career in health, they switched professions, causing a decrease in demand for vending machine snacks. With fewer snacks being purchased, vending machine repairers in Mississippi found themselves out of a job. It turns out, the health of the job market for vending machine repairers was directly linked to the health education decisions of the population. Who would have thought that choosing to study health could have such a ripple effect on the vending machine industry in Mississippi!




What else correlates?
Associates degrees awarded in Health professions · all education
The number of vending machine repairers in Mississippi · all cccupations

A linear line chart with years as the X-axis and two variables on the Y-axis. The first variable is UFO sightings in Maryland and the second variable is Liquefied petroleum gas used in Thailand.  The chart goes from 1980 to 2021, and the two variables track closely in value over that time. Small Image
View details about correlation #1,115


Unidentified Frying Objects: A Close Encounter of the LPG Kind
Perhaps the UFOs were emitting some kind of intergalactic energy that inadvertently improved the chemical composition of the LPG during its transit through the Earth's atmosphere. Or maybe the aliens were just big fans of Thai cuisine and their presence somehow enhanced the LPG used in cooking, leading to a tastier Pad Thai for everyone. Who knew that extraterrestrial visitors could have such a sizzling impact on the culinary world!




What else correlates?
UFO sightings in Maryland · all random state specific
Liquefied petroleum gas used in Thailand · 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 Malika and the second variable is Customer satisfaction with Macy's.  The chart goes from 2005 to 2020, and the two variables track closely in value over that time. Small Image
View details about correlation #2,613


Making Mirthful Metrics: Malika's Moniker and Macy's Merriment
Every time someone with the name Malika walked into Macy's, all the mannequins would mysteriously strike the perfect pose, creating an awe-inspiring atmosphere of fashion perfection. This inadvertently led to a significant boost in customer satisfaction as shoppers couldn't help but be impressed by the runway-ready displays and impeccable clothing arrangements. It was like having a personal stylist for every customer, courtesy of the Malika effect!




What else correlates?
Popularity of the first name Malika · all first names
Customer satisfaction with Macy's · 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 Neptune and Uranus and the second variable is SAP SE's stock price (SAP).  The chart goes from 2002 to 2023, and the two variables track closely in value over that time. Small Image
View details about correlation #1,275


Neptunian Nonsense: Navigating the Nexus between Neptune's Nearness and SAP SE Stock Price
As the gap between the two far-off planets widened, it created a ripple effect in the cosmic energy market, leading to an unexpected boost in SAP SE's stock price on Earth's stock exchanges. It's a stellar reminder that even astronomical distances can't eclipse the power of stock market fluctuations!




What else correlates?
The distance between Neptune and Uranus · all planets
SAP SE's stock price (SAP) · all stocks

A linear line chart with years as the X-axis and two variables on the Y-axis. The first variable is Google searches for 'why isnt 11 pronounced onety one' and the second variable is The number of tax collectors in New Mexico.  The chart goes from 2010 to 2022, and the two variables track closely in value over that time. Small Image
View details about correlation #2,209


Pondering Onety-One and Tax Fun: A Correlation in New Mexico Unspun
Because as the search for the onety-grail of numerical pronunciation continued, it inadvertently led people to question all forms of taxing language, creating a taxing demand for those who could audit, refund, or 1040-solve any tax-related issues in New Mexico. The connection between 11 and 'onety one' sparked a wealth of curiosity that multiplied like the interest on a good investment, ultimately adding to the state's revenue in an unexpected and punexpected way.




What else correlates?
Google searches for 'why isnt 11 pronounced onety one' · all google searches
The number of tax collectors in New Mexico · 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 'call me maybe' meme and the second variable is Average number of comments on Numberphile YouTube videos.  The chart goes from 2012 to 2023, and the two variables track closely in value over that time. Small Image
View details about correlation #4,850


The Meme and the Metrics: Mapping the Marriage of 'Call Me Maybe' Popularity and the Proliferation of Comments on Numberphile
As the 'call me maybe' meme faded into obscurity, so did the interest in mathematical concepts set to its catchy tune. Without the internet's ongoing obsession with the meme, there were fewer viewers seeking out number-related content, leading to a decline in comments on Numberphile videos. It seems the equation for online engagement had shifted, and the solution just didn't add up without the meme factor.




What else correlates?
Popularity of the 'call me maybe' 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 number of movies Amy Poehler appeared in and the second variable is Total Number of Successful Mount Everest Climbs.  The chart goes from 1996 to 2011, and the two variables track closely in value over that time. Small Image
View details about correlation #5,864


Laughing Matters: The Amy Poehler Effect on Everest Ascents
As the number of Amy Poehler movies increased, so did the levels of laughter and positivity in the world. This led to a corresponding rise in the overall happiness of people, including mountaineers. The sheer joy and motivation they received from Amy's performances served as the ultimate catalyst for their successful ascents of Mount Everest. In a way, Amy Poehler's on-screen brilliance became the real-life inspiration that helped climbers reach new heights, quite literally.




What else correlates?
The number of movies Amy Poehler appeared in · all films & actors
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 US kids in public school and the second variable is Fossil fuel use in Grenada.  The chart goes from 1990 to 2021, and the two variables track closely in value over that time. Small Image
View details about correlation #1,047


The Fuel of Knowledge: Connecting the Dots Between U.S. Public School Kids and Fossil Fuel Use in Grenada
As the number of kids in US public schools grew, so did the demand for school buses. The increased production of school buses led to a spike in the consumption of fossil fuels, inadvertently affecting the global market. This phenomenon, now known as the "Diesel-Powered Domino Effect," has left Grenada wondering why their fuel usage is being driven by American education.




What else correlates?
US kids in public school · all education
Fossil fuel use in Grenada · 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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