Scatter graphs

Scatter graphs show relationships between two sets of data. Points are located using the x and y-axis. Sometimes these points are arranged in a pattern.

This scatter graph shows how literacy is related to GDP with a positive correlation which highlights the higher the amount of money per person, the higher the percentage of adults who can read and write.

A scatter graph shows positive correlation between adult literacy and GDP per person in several countries.

When interpreting scatter graphs, you should include:

  • the connection between the two sets of data on the graph
  • positive or negative relationships
  • any pattern shown by a best-fit line

A line of best fit helps to show correlations, or patterns within the data. The line of best fit runs through the middle of a collection of points on the graph, ideally with an equal number of points on either side of the line.

A strong correlation is when the points are very close to the line of best fit.

A weak correlation is when the points are far away from the line of best fit.

A positive correlation is when an increase in one factor is mirrored by an increase in another (the line of best fit goes from the bottom left to the top right).

A negative correlation is when an increase in one factor is mirrored by a decrease in another (the line of best fit goes from the top left to the bottom right).