Correlation -meaning

This article contains study material and notes on Correlation - Meaning, Characteristics, Types, and More.

The analytical relationship between two units is referred to as correlation. In other words, it is the movement of two variables in relation to each other. The measure works best with variables that have a linear relationship. A scatter plot can be used to visually represent the data’s fit, to find out the relation between variables, and evaluate whether they are directly linked or not.

Characteristics of Correlation

Correlation determines the characteristics of a relationship between two entities. They are as follows:

  • The Path of a Relationship: The path of the relationship among the variables is indicated by the correlation measure. The inclination can be either positive or negative.
  • Relationship Form (Shape): The form of a relationship relates to whether the correlation is linear or curved.
  • A correlation coefficient expresses a linear association’s strength (or degree). The strength of the relationship between paired data is measured by the measures we discuss. There are two specific strengths:
  1. When two variables are perfectly (linearly) related, the correlation coefficient will be +1.00 or -1.00. They are said to have a perfect linear relationship, whether positively or negatively.
  2. When there is no relationship between two variables, their connection is 0.00.

Types of Correlation

Positive Correlation: It is denoted by symbol one. This means that the two variables shifted in the same direction, either up or down.

Negative Correlation: A negative correlation is denoted by the symbol -1. This indicates that the two variables shifted in opposite directions.

No Relation: A connection of zero indicates that there is no relation. In simple words, as one variable moved in one direction, the other moved in a completely unrelated direction.

Examples of Correlation

Based on the types of correlation, Here are some examples of the same:

Positive Correlation 

  • The more money you earn, the more taxes you pay.
  • Better education guarantees a better salary.
  • Employees respect you more if you are nicer to them.

Negative Correlation 

  • The more time you spend at work, the less time you will have at home.
  • The longer you work on a project, the less personal time you will have.
  • The more people you hire, the less money you’ll have.

No Relation 

  • The earlier you start work, the more supplies you will require.
  • The more intelligent you are, the later you can afford to reach work.
  • The more money you have, the happier you will be.

Correlation Coefficients and their Types

Correlation coefficients show the strength of two variables, whereas correlation studies how two entities relate to one another. Correlation coefficients are classified into three types in statistics. These are as follows:

Pearson Correlation

Pearson correlation is the most widely used measure for a relationship between paired data. The greater the correlation between these datasets, the closer it is to +1 or -1.

Spearman correlation

Spearman correlation is used to determine the linearity relationship or connection between two data sources. In contrast to the Pearson correlation coefficient, it is based on the ranked values of each dataset and employs skewed or ordinal factors rather than normal distributions.

Kendall correlation

This type of correlation assesses the degree of reliance between two datasets. 

Knowing your variables will help you decide which type of correlation coefficient to use. Using the correct correlation equation will assist you in better understanding the relationship between the datasets you’re analysing.

Strengths and Weaknesses of Correlation


  • Correlation allows researchers to look into naturally occurring variables that would be unethical or unrealistic to test experimentally. It would be unethical, for example, to evaluate whether cigarette smoke causes lung cancer.
  •  Correlation allows a researcher to see a relationship among the variables clearly and easily. This can then be represented graphically.


  • Correlation does not and cannot imply causation. Even if two variables have a strong correlation, we cannot believe that one creates the other.
  • Assume we discovered a link between observing violence on television and violent behaviour in adolescence. It is possible that the cause of both of these is a third variable, such as growing up in a violent home, and that both the watching of television and the violent behaviour are results of this.

Correlation vs Causation

Causation always requires correlation, but correlation does not always need causation because correlation denotes a relationship between variables; it does not imply that the covariation exists due to a direct or causal link. On the other hand, causation implies a specialised form of relationship identified as a causal relationship rather than just implying a cause-and-effect relationship. For two variables to have a causal relationship, one must affect the other; when one variable changes, the other must change as well. As a result, the variables have a causal relationship.

Variables with a causal relationship are related, so causation always suggests correlation. However, correlation does not imply causation because variables can be associated without directly affecting each other.


Correlation is an important part of statistical analysis in Economics. It forms a base for comparing two datasets using statistical data and provides practical data for a company’s financial growth. 


Frequently asked questions

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Why is correlation significant in finance?

What is an Inverse Correlation?

Ans: An inverse correlation, also known as a negative correlation, is an inverse relationship between two variables....Read full

Explain Positive Correlation.

Ans: A positive correlation exists when two data sets or entities move in a similar direction. When one variable dec...Read full