Covariance Calculator

Determine covariances accurately with our Covariance Calculator.


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Use this Covariance Calculator to quantify the degree to which two random variables change together. Covariance is a statistical measure that helps assess whether an increase in one variable corresponds to an increase or decrease in another variable. It can be used to determine the direction of a linear relationship between variables.

Calculating Covariance

To calculate the covariance between two variables X and Y, follow these steps:

Step 1: Collect Data

Gather data for both variables X and Y. Ensure that you have paired observations, with each pair corresponding to values of both variables.

Step 2: Calculate the Means

Calculate the means (average values) for both variables. You’ll need these values in later calculations. The means are denoted as X̄ and Ȳ.

Step 3: Calculate the Differences

For each pair of observations, calculate the difference between the X value and the mean X̄, as well as the difference between the Y value and the mean Ȳ. You’ll have a set of differences for both variables.

Step 4: Calculate the Products

Multiply each pair of differences. For each pair of observations, multiply the difference for X by the difference for Y. This gives you a set of products for each pair.

Step 5: Sum the Products

Sum all the products calculated in the previous step. This will give you the total sum of products, denoted as Σ(X – X̄)(Y – Ȳ).

Step 6: Calculate the Covariance

Use the following formula to calculate the covariance (cov(X, Y)):

cov(X, Y) = Σ(X – X̄)(Y – Ȳ) / N


  • X and Y: The individual data points for the two variables.
  • X̄ and Ȳ: The means (average values) of the two variables.
  • Σ: The summation symbol, indicating that you should sum the values across all data pairs.
  • N: The total number of data pairs.

Step 7: Interpret the Result

The resulting covariance (cov(X, Y)) can be positive, negative, or zero. The sign of the covariance indicates the direction of the relationship:

  • Positive Covariance: A positive covariance suggests that as one variable (X) increases, the other variable (Y) tends to increase. The variables have a positive linear relationship.
  • Negative Covariance: A negative covariance suggests that as one variable (X) increases, the other variable (Y) tends to decrease. The variables have a negative linear relationship.
  • Zero Covariance: A covariance of zero suggests no linear relationship between the variables. Changes in one variable are not associated with changes in the other.

It’s important to note that the magnitude of the covariance doesn’t indicate the strength of the relationship. Therefore, it’s often helpful to standardize the covariance by calculating the correlation coefficient (Pearson’s r) to better understand the strength of the linear relationship between variables.