R_User R_User - 1 year ago 52
R Question

Converting year and month ("yyyy-mm" format) to a date in R?

I have a dataset that looks like this:

Month count
2009-01 12
2009-02 310
2009-03 2379
2009-04 234
2009-05 14
2009-08 1
2009-09 34
2009-10 2386

I want to plot the data (months as x values and counts as y values). Since there are gaps in the data, I want to convert the Information for the Month into a date. I tried:

as.Date("2009-03", "%Y-%m")

But it did not work. Whats wrong? It seems that as.Date() requires also a day and is not able to set a standard value for the day? Which function solves my problem?

Answer Source

Try this. (Here we use text=Lines to keep the example self contained but in reality we would replace it with the file name.)

Lines <- "2009-01  12
2009-02  310
2009-03  2379
2009-04  234
2009-05  14
2009-08  1
2009-09  34
2009-10  2386"

z <- read.zoo(text = Lines, FUN = as.yearmon)

The X axis is not so pretty with this data but if you have more data in reality it might be ok or you can use the code for a fancy X axis shown in the examples section of ?plot.zoo .

The zoo series, z, that is created above has a "yearmon" time index and looks like this:

> z
Jan 2009 Feb 2009 Mar 2009 Apr 2009 May 2009 Aug 2009 Sep 2009 Oct 2009 
      12      310     2379      234       14        1       34     2386 

"yearmon" can be used alone as well:

> as.yearmon("2000-03")
[1] "Mar 2000"


  1. "yearmon" class objects sort in calendar order.

  2. This will plot the monthly points at equally spaced intervals which is likely what is wanted; however, if it were desired to plot the points at unequally spaced intervals spaced in proportion to the number of days in each month then convert the index of z to "Date" class: time(z) <- as.Date(time(z)) .

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