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A correlation coefficient is a numerical measure of some type of
correlation In statistics, correlation or dependence is any statistical relationship, whether causal or not, between two random variables or bivariate data. Although in the broadest sense, "correlation" may indicate any type of association, in statistic ...
, meaning a statistical relationship between two variables. The variables may be two
column A column or pillar in architecture and structural engineering is a structural element that transmits, through compression, the weight of the structure above to other structural elements below. In other words, a column is a compression member. ...
s of a given
data set A data set (or dataset) is a collection of data. In the case of tabular data, a data set corresponds to one or more database tables, where every column of a table represents a particular variable, and each row corresponds to a given record of t ...
of observations, often called a sample, or two components of a multivariate random variable with a known distribution. Several types of correlation coefficient exist, each with their own definition and own range of usability and characteristics. They all assume values in the range from −1 to +1, where ±1 indicates the strongest possible agreement and 0 the strongest possible disagreement. As tools of analysis, correlation coefficients present certain problems, including the propensity of some types to be distorted by
outliers In statistics, an outlier is a data point that differs significantly from other observations. An outlier may be due to a variability in the measurement, an indication of novel data, or it may be the result of experimental error; the latter ar ...
and the possibility of incorrectly being used to infer a causal relationship between the variables (for more, see
Correlation does not imply causation The phrase "correlation does not imply causation" refers to the inability to legitimately deduce a cause-and-effect relationship between two events or variables solely on the basis of an observed association or correlation between them. The id ...
).

# Types

There are several different measures for the degree of correlation in data, depending on the kind of data: principally whether the data is a measurement, ordinal, or categorical.

## Pearson

The
Pearson product-moment correlation coefficient In statistics, the Pearson correlation coefficient (PCC, pronounced ) ― also known as Pearson's ''r'', the Pearson product-moment correlation coefficient (PPMCC), the bivariate correlation, or colloquially simply as the correlation coefficien ...
, also known as , , or ''Pearson's'' , is a measure of the strength and direction of the ''linear'' relationship between two variables that is defined as the
covariance In probability theory and statistics, covariance is a measure of the joint variability of two random variables. If the greater values of one variable mainly correspond with the greater values of the other variable, and the same holds for the les ...
of the variables divided by the product of their standard deviations. This is the best-known and most commonly used type of correlation coefficient. When the term "correlation coefficient" is used without further qualification, it usually refers to the Pearson product-moment correlation coefficient.

## Intra-class

Intraclass correlation In statistics, the intraclass correlation, or the intraclass correlation coefficient (ICC), is a descriptive statistic that can be used when quantitative measurements are made on units that are organized into groups. It describes how strongly ...
(ICC) is a descriptive statistic that can be used, when quantitative measurements are made on units that are organized into groups; it describes how strongly units in the same group resemble each other.

## Rank

Rank correlation is a measure of the relationship between the rankings of two variables, or two rankings of the same variable: * Spearman's rank correlation coefficient is a measure of how well the relationship between two variables can be described by a monotonic function. *The Kendall tau rank correlation coefficient is a measure of the portion of ranks that match between two data sets. * Goodman and Kruskal's gamma is a measure of the strength of association of the cross tabulated data when both variables are measured at the ordinal level.

## Tetrachoric and polychoric

The polychoric correlation coefficient measures association between two ordered-categorical variables. It's technically defined as the estimate of the Pearson correlation coefficient one would obtain if: # The two variables were measured on a continuous scale, instead of as ordered-category variables. # The two continuous variables followed a bivariate normal distribution. When both variables are dichotomous instead of ordered-categorical, the polychoric correlation coefficient is called the tetrachoric correlation coefficient.