1. What is Correlation?

Correlation Example

Years of Education and Age of Entry to Labour Force Table.1 gives the number of years of formal education (X) and the age of entry into the labour force (Y ), for 12 males from the Regina Labour Force Survey. Both variables are measured in years, a ratio level of measurement and the highest level of measurement. All of the males are aged close to 30, so that most of these males are likely to have completed their formal education.

Respondent NumberYears of Education, XAge of Entry into Labour Force, Y

Table 1. Years of Education and Age of Entry into Labour Force for 12 Regina Males

Since most males enter the labour force soon after they leave formal schooling, a close relationship between these two variables is expected. By looking through the table, it can be seen that those respondents who obtained more years of schooling generally entered the labour force at an older age. The mean years of schooling are ¯XX¯ = 12.4 years and the mean age of entry into the labour force is ¯YY¯= 17.8, a difference of 5.4 years.


This difference roughly reflects the age of entry into formal schooling, that is, age five or six. It can be seen through that the relationship between years of schooling and age of entry into the labour force is not perfect. Respondent 11, for example, has only 8 years of schooling but did not enter the labour force until the age of 18. In contrast, respondent 5 has 20 years of schooling but entered the labour force at the age of 18. The scatter diagram provides a quick way of examining the relationship between X and Y.
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