# Correlation vs Causation

## What’s The Difference?

I can’t think of any two terms that are conflated more often than “correlation” and “causation”.

It’s not unusual to hear a politician say that two things are correlated. Usually what they mean to say is that there is a “causal” relationship between these two things and that specific one thing causes another to happen. An example might be a politician saying their opponent's policies have correlated with higher crime rates.

What they mean to say is that their opponent's policies have *caused *higher crime rates (usually such claims are dubious).

Before we go too far down the rabbit hole, let’s define each of these terms.

**Correlation**

- Correlation is a statistical measure that indicates how two or more variables move together.
- Correlation is measured between 0–1. 0 would indicate that two variables do not move at all in relation to the other. 1 would indicate that two variables move at the exact rate in relation to the other.
- Correlation can be positive or negative. A positive correlation indicates that two variables move in the same direction. A negative correlation indicates that two variables move in the opposite direction.