mnrfit
(Not recommended) Multinomial logistic regression
mnrfit
is not recommended. Use
fitmnr
instead. (since R2023a) For more information see Version History.
Description
returns a matrix, B
= mnrfit(X
,Y
,Name,Value
)B
, of coefficient estimates for a multinomial model fit
with additional options specified by one or more Name,Value
pair
arguments.
For example, you can fit a nominal, an ordinal, or a hierarchical model, or change the link function.
Examples
Multinomial Regression for Nominal Responses
Fit a multinomial regression for nominal outcomes and interpret the results.
Load the sample data.
load fisheriris
The column vector, species
, consists of iris flowers of three different species, setosa, versicolor, virginica. The double matrix meas
consists of four types of measurements on the flowers, the length and width of sepals and petals in centimeters, respectively.
Define the nominal response variable using a categorical array.
sp = categorical(species);
Fit a multinomial regression model to predict the species using the measurements.
[B,dev,stats] = mnrfit(meas,sp); B
B = 5×2
10^{3} ×
2.0184 0.0426
0.6739 0.0025
0.5682 0.0067
0.5164 0.0094
2.7609 0.0183
This is a nominal model for the response category relative risks, with separate slopes on all four predictors, that is, each category of meas
. The first row of B
contains the intercept terms for the relative risk of the first two response categories, setosa and versicolor versus the reference category, virginica. The last four rows contain the slopes for the models for the first two categories. mnrfit
accepts the third category as the reference category.
The relative risk of an iris flower being species 2 (versicolor) versus species 3 (virginica) is the ratio of the two probabilities (the probability of being species 2 and the probability of being species 3). The model for the relative risk is
$$\mathrm{ln}\left(\frac{{\pi}_{versicolor}}{{\pi}_{virginica}}\right)=42.6+2.5{X}_{1}+6.7{X}_{2}9.4{X}_{3}18.3{X}_{4}.$$
The coefficients express both the effects of the predictor variables on the relative risk and the log odds of being in one category versus the reference category. For example, the estimated coefficient 2.5 indicates that the relative risk of being species 2 (versicolor) versus species 3 (virginica) increases exp(2.5) times for each unit increase in $${X}_{1}$$, the first measurement, given all else is equal. The relative log odds of being versicolor versus virginica increases 2.5 times with a oneunit increase in $${X}_{1}$$, given all else is equal.
If the coefficients are converging toward infinity or negative infinity, the estimated coefficients can vary slightly depending on your operating system.
Check the statistical significance of the model coefficients.
stats.p
ans = 5×2
0 0.0000
0 0.0281
0 0.0000
0 0.0000
0 0.0000
The small $$p$$values indicate that all measures are significant on the relative risk of being a setosa versus a virginica (species 1 compared to species 3) and being a versicolor versus a virginica (species 2 compared to species 3).
Request the standard errors of coefficient estimates.
stats.se
ans = 5×2
12.4038 5.2719
3.5783 1.1228
3.1760 1.4789
3.5403 1.2934
7.1203 2.0967
Calculate the 95% confidence limits for the coefficients.
LL = stats.beta  1.96.*stats.se; UL = stats.beta + 1.96.*stats.se;
Display the confidence intervals for the coefficients of the model for the relative risk of being a setosa versus a virginica (the first column of coefficients in B
).
[LL(:,1) UL(:,1)]
ans = 5×2
10^{3} ×
1.9941 2.0427
0.6668 0.6809
0.5744 0.5620
0.5234 0.5095
2.7749 2.7470
Find the confidence intervals for the coefficients of the model for the relative risk of being a versicolor versus a virginica (the second column of coefficients in B
).
[LL(:,2) UL(:,2)]
ans = 5×2
32.3049 52.9707
0.2645 4.6660
3.7823 9.5795
11.9644 6.8944
22.3957 14.1766
Multinomial Regression for Ordinal Responses
Fit a multinomial regression model for categorical responses with natural ordering among categories.
Load the sample data and define the predictor variables.
load carbig
X = [Acceleration Displacement Horsepower Weight];
The predictor variables are the acceleration, engine displacement, horsepower, and weight of the cars. The response variable is miles per gallon (mpg).
Create an ordinal response variable categorizing MPG
into four levels from 9 to 48 mpg by labeling the response values in the range 919 as 1, 2029 as 2, 3039 as 3, and 4048 as 4.
miles = discretize(MPG,[9,19,29,39,48]);
Fit an ordinal response model for the response variable miles
.
[B,dev,stats] = mnrfit(X,miles,'model','ordinal'); B
B = 7×1
16.6895
11.7208
8.0606
0.1048
0.0103
0.0645
0.0017
The first three elements of B
are the intercept terms for the models, and the last four elements of B
are the coefficients of the covariates, assumed common across all categories. This model corresponds to parallel regression, which is also called the proportional odds model, where there is a different intercept but common slopes among categories. You can specify this using the 'interactions','off'
namevalue pair argument, which is the default for ordinal models.
[B(1:3)'; repmat(B(4:end),1,3)]
ans = 5×3
16.6895 11.7208 8.0606
0.1048 0.1048 0.1048
0.0103 0.0103 0.0103
0.0645 0.0645 0.0645
0.0017 0.0017 0.0017
The link function in the model is logit ('link','logit'
), which is the default for an ordinal model. The coefficients express the relative risk or log odds of the mpg of a car being less than or equal to one value versus greater than that value.
The proportional odds model in this example is
$$\begin{array}{l}\mathrm{ln}\left(\frac{P\left(mpg\le 19\right)}{P\left(mpg>19\right)}\right)=16.6895+0.1048{X}_{A}+0.0103{X}_{D}+0.0645{X}_{H}+0.0017{X}_{W}\\ \\ \mathrm{ln}\left(\frac{P\left(mpg\le 29\right)}{P\left(mpg>29\right)}\right)=11.7208+0.1048{X}_{A}+0.0103{X}_{D}+0.0645{X}_{H}+0.0017{X}_{W}\\ \\ \mathrm{ln}\left(\frac{P\left(mpg\le 39\right)}{P\left(mpg>39\right)}\right)=8.0606+0.1048{X}_{A}+0.0103{X}_{D}+0.0645{X}_{H}+0.0017{X}_{W}\end{array}$$
For example, the coefficient estimate of 0.1048 indicates that a unit change in acceleration would impact the odds of the mpg of a car being less than or equal to 19 versus more than 19, or being less than or equal to 29 versus greater than 29, or being less than or equal to 39 versus greater than 39, by a factor of exp(0.01048) given all else is equal.
Assess the significance of the coefficients.
stats.p
ans = 7×1
0.0000
0.0000
0.0000
0.1899
0.0350
0.0000
0.0118
The $$p$$values of 0.035, 0.0000, and 0.0118 for engine displacement, horsepower, and weight of a car, respectively, indicate that these factors are significant on the odds of mpg of a car being less than or equal to a certain value versus being greater than that value.
Hierarchical Multinomial Regression Model
Fit a hierarchical multinomial regression model.
Load the sample data.
load('smoking.mat');
The data set smoking
contains five variables: sex, age, weight, and systolic and diastolic blood pressure. Sex is a binary variable where 1 indicates female patients, and 0 indicates male patients.
Define the response variable.
Y = categorical(smoking.Smoker);
The data in Smoker
has four categories:
0: Nonsmoker, 0 cigarettes a day
1: Smoker, 1–5 cigarettes a day
2: Smoker, 6–10 cigarettes a day
3: Smoker, 11 or more cigarettes a day
Define the predictor variables.
X = [smoking.Sex smoking.Age smoking.Weight...
smoking.SystolicBP smoking.DiastolicBP];
Fit a hierarchical multinomial model.
[B,dev,stats] = mnrfit(X,Y,'model','hierarchical'); B
B = 6×3
43.8148 5.9571 44.0712
1.8709 0.0230 0.0662
0.0188 0.0625 0.1335
0.0046 0.0072 0.0130
0.2170 0.0416 0.0324
0.2273 0.1449 0.4824
The first column of B
includes the intercept and the coefficient estimates for the model of the relative risk of being a nonsmoker versus a smoker. The second column includes the parameter estimates for modeling the log odds of smoking 1–5 cigarettes a day versus more than five cigarettes a day given that a person is a smoker. Finally, the third column includes the parameter estimates for modeling the log odds of a person smoking 6–10 cigarettes a day versus more than 10 cigarettes a day given he/she smokes more than 5 cigarettes a day.
The coefficients differ across categories. You can specify this using the 'interactions','on'
namevalue pair argument, which is the default for hierarchical models. So, the model in this example is
$$\mathrm{ln}\left(\frac{P\left(y=0\right)}{P\left(y>0\right)}\right)=43.8148+1.8709{X}_{S}+0.0188{X}_{A}+0.0046{X}_{W}0.2170{X}_{SBP}0.2273{X}_{DBP}$$
$$\mathrm{ln}\left(\frac{P\left(1\le y\le 5\right)}{P\left(y>5\right)}\right)=5.95710.0230{X}_{S}+0.0625{X}_{A}0.0072{X}_{W}+0.0416{X}_{SBP}0.1449{X}_{DBP}$$
$$\mathrm{ln}\left(\frac{P\left(6\le y\le 10\right)}{P\left(y>10\right)}\right)=44.0712+0.0662{X}_{S}+0.1335{X}_{A}0.0130{X}_{W}0.0324{X}_{SBP}0.4824{X}_{DBP}$$
For example, the coefficient estimate of 1.8709 indicates that the likelihood of being a smoker versus a nonsmoker increases by exp(1.8709) = 6.49 times as the gender changes from female to male given everything else held constant.
Assess the statistical significance of the terms.
stats.p
ans = 6×3
0.0000 0.5363 0.2149
0.3549 0.9912 0.9835
0.6850 0.2676 0.2313
0.9032 0.8523 0.8514
0.0009 0.5187 0.8165
0.0004 0.0483 0.0545
Sex, age, or weight don’t appear significant on any level. The $$p$$values of 0.0009 and 0.0004 indicate that both types of blood pressure are significant on the relative risk of a person being a smoker versus a nonsmoker. The $$p$$value of 0.0483 shows that only diastolic blood pressure is significant on the odds of a person smoking 0–5 cigarettes a day versus more than 5 cigarettes a day. Similarly, the $$p$$value of 0.0545 indicates that diastolic blood pressure is significant on the odds of a person smoking 6–10 cigarettes a day versus more than 10 cigarettes a day.
Check if any nonsignificant factors are correlated to each other. Draw a scatterplot of age versus weight grouped by sex.
figure() gscatter(smoking.Age,smoking.Weight,smoking.Sex) legend('Male','Female') xlabel('Age') ylabel('Weight')
The range of weight of an individual seems to differ according to gender. Age does not seem to have any obvious correlation with sex or weight. Age is insignificant and weight seems to be correlated with sex, so you can eliminate both and reconstruct the model.
Eliminate age and weight from the model and fit a hierarchical model with sex, systolic blood pressure, and diastolic blood pressure as the predictor variables.
X = double([smoking.Sex smoking.SystolicBP... smoking.DiastolicBP]); [B,dev,stats] = mnrfit(X,Y,'model','hierarchical'); B
B = 4×3
44.8456 5.3230 25.0248
1.6045 0.2330 0.4982
0.2161 0.0497 0.0179
0.2222 0.1358 0.3092
Here, a coefficient estimate of 1.6045 indicates that the likelihood of being a nonsmoker versus a smoker increases by exp(1.6045) = 4.97 times as sex changes from male to female. A unit increase in the systolic blood pressure indicates an exp(–.2161) = 0.8056 decrease in the likelihood of being a nonsmoker versus a smoker. Similarly, a unit increase in the diastolic blood pressure indicates an exp(–.2222) = 0.8007 decrease in the relative rate of being a nonsmoker versus being a smoker.
Assess the statistical significance of the terms.
stats.p
ans = 4×3
0.0000 0.4715 0.2325
0.0210 0.7488 0.6362
0.0010 0.4107 0.8899
0.0003 0.0483 0.0718
The $$p$$values of 0.0210, 0.0010, and 0.0003 indicate that the terms sex and both types of blood pressure are significant on the relative risk of a person being a nonsmoker versus a smoker, given the other terms in the model. Based on the $$p$$value of 0.0483, diastolic blood pressure appears significant on the relative risk of a person smoking 1–5 cigarettes versus more than 5 cigarettes a day, given that this person is a smoker. Because none of the $$p$$values on the third column are less than 0.05, you can say that none of the variables are statistically significant on the relative risk of a person smoking from 6–10 cigarettes versus more than 10 cigarettes, given that this person smokes more than 5 cigarettes a day.
Input Arguments
X
— Observations on predictor variables
nbyp matrix
Observations on predictor variables, specified as an
nbyp matrix. X
contains
n observations for p predictors.
Note
mnrfit
automatically includes a constant term (intercept) in
all models. Do not include a column of 1s in X
.
Data Types: single
 double
Y
— Response category labels
nbyk matrix  nby1 numeric vector  nby1 logical vector  nby1 string vector  nby1 categorical array  nby1 cell array of character vectors
Response category labels, specified as an nbyk matrix, or an nby1 numeric vector, logical vector, string vector, categorical array, or cell array of character vectors.
If
Y
is an nbyk matrix, n is the number of observations in the data set, and k is the number of response categories. Y(i,j) is the number of outcomes of the multinomial category j for the predictor combinations given by X(i,:). In this case, the function determines the number of observations at each predictor combination.If
Y
is an nby1 numeric vector, the vector indicates the value of the response for each observation. In this case, all sample sizes are 1.mnrfit
treats the response categories as having integer values from 1 to the maximum value inY
. IfY
does not include all integer values ranging from 1 to the maximum value inY
,mnrfit
treats the response categories for the excluded values as having no observations.If
Y
is an nby1 logical vector, string vector, categorical array, or cell array of character vectors, the vector or array indicates the value of the response for each observation. In this case, all sample sizes are 1.
Data Types: single
 double
 logical
 char
 string
 cell
 categorical
NameValue Arguments
Specify optional pairs of arguments as
Name1=Value1,...,NameN=ValueN
, where Name
is
the argument name and Value
is the corresponding value.
Namevalue arguments must appear after other arguments, but the order of the
pairs does not matter.
Before R2021a, use commas to separate each name and value, and enclose
Name
in quotes.
Example: 'Model','ordinal','Link','probit'
specifies an ordinal model
with a probit link function.
Model
— Type of model to fit
'nominal'
(default)  'ordinal'
 'hierarchical'
Type of model to fit, specified as the commaseparated pair consisting of
'Model'
and one of the following.
'nominal'  Default. There is no ordering among the response categories. Multinomial
regression is sometimes called softmax regression when
Model is 'nominal' . 
'ordinal'  There is a natural ordering among the response categories. 
'hierarchical'  The choice of response category is sequential/nested. 
Example: 'Model','ordinal'
Interactions
— Indicator for interaction between multinomial categories and coefficients
'on'
 'off'
Indicator for an interaction between the multinomial categories and coefficients,
specified as the commaseparated pair consisting of 'Interactions'
and one of the following.
In all cases, the model has different intercepts across categories. The choice of
'Interactions'
determines the dimensions of the output array
B
.
Example: 'Interactions','off'
IterationLimit
— Maximum number of iterations
100 (default)  positive integer
Maximum number of iteratively reweighted least squares (IRLS) iterations used to
fit the model, specified as a positive integer. The default value for
IterationLimit
is 100
.
For more information about the IRLS algorithm, see Iteratively Reweighted Least Squares.
Example: IterationLimit=400
Data Types: single
 double
Link
— Link function
'logit'
(default)  'probit'
 'comploglog'
 'loglog'
Link function to use for ordinal and hierarchical models, specified as the
commaseparated pair consisting of 'Link'
and one of the following.
'logit'  Default. f(γ) = ln(γ/(1 –γ)) 
'probit'  f(γ) = Φ^{1}(γ) — error term is normally distributed with variance 1 
'comploglog'  Complementary loglog f(γ) = ln(–ln(1 – γ)) 
'loglog'  f(γ) = ln(–ln(γ)) 
The link function defines the relationship between response probabilities and the linear combination of predictors, Xβ. The link functions might be functions of cumulative or conditional probabilities based on whether the model is for an ordinal or a sequential/nested response. For example, for an ordinal model, γ represents the cumulative probability of being in categories 1 to j and the model with a logit link function as follows:
$$\mathrm{ln}\left(\frac{\gamma}{1\gamma}\right)=\mathrm{ln}\left(\frac{{\pi}_{1}+{\pi}_{2}+\cdots +{\pi}_{j}}{{\pi}_{j+1}+\cdots +{\pi}_{k}}\right)={\beta}_{0j}+{\beta}_{1}{X}_{1}+{\beta}_{2}{X}_{2}+\cdots +{\beta}_{p}{X}_{p},$$
where k represents the last category.
You cannot specify the 'Link'
parameter for nominal models;
these always use a multinomial logit link,
$$\mathrm{ln}\left(\frac{{\pi}_{j}}{{\pi}_{r}}\right)={\beta}_{j0}+{\beta}_{j1}{X}_{j1}+{\beta}_{j2}{X}_{j2}+\cdots +{\beta}_{jp}{X}_{jp},\text{\hspace{1em}}j=1,\text{\hspace{0.17em}}\dots ,k1,$$
where π stands for a categorical probability,
and r corresponds to the reference category.
mnrfit
uses the last category as the reference category for
nominal models.
Example: 'Link','loglog'
EstDisp
— Indicator for estimating dispersion parameter
'off'
(default)  'on'
Indicator for estimating a dispersion parameter, specified as the commaseparated
pair consisting of 'EstDisp'
and one of the following.
'off'  Default. Use the theoretical dispersion value of 1. 
'on'  Estimate a dispersion parameter for the multinomial distribution in computing standard errors. 
Example: 'EstDisp','on'
Tolerance
— Termination tolerance
1e6
(default)  numeric scalar
Termination tolerance for the Iteratively Reweighted Least Squares (IRLS) fitting
algorithm, specified as a numeric scalar. If the relative difference of each
coefficient is less than Tolerance
across two iterations of the
IRLS algorithm, then mnrfit
considers the model to be
converged. The default value for Tolerance
is
1e6
.
For more information about the IRLS algorithm, see Iteratively Reweighted Least Squares.
Example: Tolerance=1e4
Data Types: single
 double
Weights
— Observation weights
nby1 vector of ones (default)  nby1 numeric vector
Observation weights, specified as an nby1 numeric vector,
where n is the number of observations. The default value for
Weights
is an nby1 vector of ones.
Data Types: single
 double
Output Arguments
B
— Coefficient estimates
vector  matrix
Coefficient estimates for a multinomial logistic regression of the responses in
Y
, returned as a vector or a matrix.
If
'Interaction'
is'off'
, thenB
is a k – 1 + p vector. The first k – 1 rows ofB
correspond to the intercept terms, one for each k – 1 multinomial categories, and the remaining p rows correspond to the predictor coefficients, which are common for all of the first k – 1 categories.If
'Interaction'
is'on'
, thenB
is a (p + 1)by(k – 1) matrix. Each column ofB
corresponds to the estimated intercept term and predictor coefficients, one for each of the first k – 1 multinomial categories.
The estimates for the kth category are taken to be zero as
mnrfit
takes the last category as the reference category.
dev
— Deviance of the fit
scalar value
Deviance of the fit, returned as a scalar value. It is twice the difference between the maximum achievable log likelihood and that attained under the fitted model. This corresponds to the sum of deviance residuals,
$$dev=2*{\displaystyle \sum _{i}^{n}{\displaystyle \sum _{j}^{k}{y}_{ij}*\mathrm{log}\left(\frac{{y}_{ij}}{{\widehat{\pi}}_{ij}*{m}_{i}}\right)}}={\displaystyle \sum _{i}^{n}r{d}_{i}},$$
where
rd_{i} are the deviance
residuals. For deviance residuals see stats
.
stats
— Model statistics
structure
Model statistics, returned as a structure that contains the following fields.
beta  The coefficient estimates. These are the same as
B . 
dfe  Degrees of freedom for error

sfit  Estimated dispersion parameter. 
s  Theoretical or estimated dispersion parameter.

estdisp  Indicator for a theoretical or estimated dispersion parameter. 
se  Standard errors of coefficient estimates, B . 
coeffcorr  Estimated correlation matrix for B . 
covb  Estimated covariance matrix for B . 
t  t statistics for B . 
p  pvalues for B . 
resid  Raw residuals. Observed minus fitted values, $${r}_{ij}={y}_{ij}{\widehat{\pi}}_{ij}*{m}_{i},\text{\hspace{1em}}\{\begin{array}{c}i=1,\cdots ,n\\ j=1,\cdots ,k\end{array},$$ where π_{ij} is the categorical, cumulative or conditional probability, and m_{i} is the corresponding sample size. 
residp  Pearson residuals, which are the raw residuals scaled by the estimated standard deviation: $$r{p}_{ij}=\frac{{r}_{ij}}{{\widehat{\sigma}}_{ij}}=\frac{{y}_{ij}{\widehat{\pi}}_{ij}*{m}_{i}}{\sqrt{{\widehat{\pi}}_{ij}*\left(1{\widehat{\pi}}_{ij}\right)*{m}_{i}}},\text{\hspace{1em}}\{\begin{array}{c}i=1,\cdots ,n\\ j=1,\cdots ,k\end{array},$$ where π_{ij} is the categorical, cumulative, or conditional probability, and m_{i} is the corresponding sample size. 
residd  Deviance residuals: $$r{d}_{i}=2*{\displaystyle {\sum}_{j}^{k}{y}_{ij}*\mathrm{log}\left(\frac{{y}_{ij}}{{\widehat{\pi}}_{ij}*{m}_{i}}\right)},\text{\hspace{1em}}i=1,\cdots ,n.$$ where π_{ij} is the categorical, cumulative, or conditional probability, and m_{i} is the corresponding sample size. 
Algorithms
mnrfit
treats NaN
s in either X
or
Y
as missing values, and ignores them.
References
[1] McCullagh, P., and J. A. Nelder. Generalized Linear Models. New York: Chapman & Hall, 1990.
[2] Long, J. S. Regression Models for Categorical and Limited Dependent Variables. Sage Publications, 1997.
[3] Dobson, A. J., and A. G. Barnett. An Introduction to Generalized Linear Models. Chapman and Hall/CRC. Taylor & Francis Group, 2008.
Version History
Introduced in R2006bR2023b: mnrfit
is not recommended
mnrfit
is not recommended. Use fitmnr
instead.
There are no plans to remove mnrfit
.
Starting in R2023b, use the fitmnr
function to fit a MultinomialRegression
model object. The fitmnr
function has
these advantages over the mnrfit
function:
Table support for predictor and response input arguments
Option to specify predictors as categorical
Option to specify observation weights
MultinomialRegression
object with output has properties that contain:Fitted response values
Loglikelihood of the fitted model
Criterion for model comparison
Pseudo Rsquared values for the fitted model
For a complete list of
MultinomialRegression
object properties, seeMultinomialRegression
.
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