How to Calculate the Coefficient of Variation in SPSS


The coefficient of variation is a way to measure how spread out values are in a dataset relative to the mean. It is calculated as:

Coefficient of variation = σ / μ

where:

σ = standard deviation of dataset

μ = mean of dataset

This tutorial explains how to calculate the coefficient of variation for a dataset in SPSS

Example: Coefficient of Variation in SPSS

Suppose we have the following dataset that displays the annual income (in thousands) for 15 individuals:

Use the following steps to calculate the coefficient of variation for this dataset in SPSS:

Step 1: Create a column of 1’s.

First, we need to create a column of all 1’s next to the original dataset:

Step 2: Calculate the coefficient of variation.

Next, click the Analyze tab, then Descriptive Statistics, then Ratio:

In the new window that pops up, drag the variable income into the box labelled Numerator and drag the variable one into the box labelled Denominator:

Next, click Statistics. Make sure the boxes are checked next to Mean, Standard deviation, and Mean Centered COV. Then click Continue.

Lastly, click OK.

Step 3: Interpret the coefficient of variation.

Once you click OK, the coefficient of variation for this dataset will be displayed:

Coefficient of variation calculation in SPSS

We can see that the coefficient of variation for this dataset is 49.3%. This was calculated using the following formula:

CV =  σ / μ * 100 = (29.060/58.933) * 100 = 49.3%.

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