How to Calculate AUC (Area Under Curve) in Python


Logistic Regression is a statistical method that we use to fit a regression model when the response variable is binary.

To assess how well a logistic regression model fits a dataset, we can look at the following two metrics:

  • Sensitivity: The probability that the model predicts a positive outcome for an observation when indeed the outcome is positive. This is also called the “true positive rate.”
  • Specificity: The probability that the model predicts a negative outcome for an observation when indeed the outcome is negative. This is also called the “true negative rate.”

One way to visualize these two metrics is by creating a ROC curve, which stands for “receiver operating characteristic” curve.

This is a plot that displays the sensitivity along the y-axis and (1 – specificity) along the x-axis.

One way to quantify how well the logistic regression model does at classifying data is to calculate AUC, which stands for “area under curve.”

The closer the AUC is to 1, the better the model.

The following step-by-step example shows how to calculate AUC for a logistic regression model in Python.

Step 1: Import Packages

First, we’ll import the packages necessary to perform logistic regression in Python:

import pandas as pd
import numpy as np
from sklearn.model_selection import train_test_split
from sklearn.linear_model import LogisticRegression
from sklearn import metrics

Step 2: Fit the Logistic Regression Model

Next, we’ll import a dataset and fit a logistic regression model to it:

#import dataset from CSV file on Github
url = "https://raw.githubusercontent.com/Statology/Python-Guides/main/default.csv"
data = pd.read_csv(url)

#define the predictor variables and the response variable
X = data[['student', 'balance', 'income']]
y = data['default']

#split the dataset into training (70%) and testing (30%) sets
X_train,X_test,y_train,y_test = train_test_split(X,y,test_size=0.3,random_state=0) 

#instantiate the model
log_regression = LogisticRegression()

#fit the model using the training data
log_regression.fit(X_train,y_train)

Step 3: Calculate the AUC

We can use the metrics.roc_auc_score() function to calculate the AUC of the model:

#use model to predict probability that given y value is 1
y_pred_proba = log_regression.predict_proba(X_test)[::,1]

#calculate AUC of model
auc = metrics.roc_auc_score(y_test, y_pred_proba)

#print AUC score
print(auc)

0.5602104030579559

The AUC (area under curve) for this particular model is 0.5602.

Recall that a model with an AUC score of 0.5 is no better than a model that performs random guessing.

Thus, in most cases a model with an AUC score of 0.5602 would be considered poor at classifying observations into the correct classes.

Additional Resources

The following tutorials offer additional information about ROC curves and AUC scores:

How to Interpret a ROC Curve (With Examples)
What is Considered a Good AUC Score?

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