How to reshape data.frame from wide to long format in R [Answered]

Sample problem:

I have some trouble to convert my data.frame from a wide table to a long table. At the moment it looks like this:

Code Country        1950    1951    1952    1953    1954
AFG  Afghanistan    20,249  21,352  22,532  23,557  24,555
ALB  Albania        8,097   8,986   10,058  11,123  12,246

Now I would like to transform this data.frame into a long data.frame. Something like this:

Code Country        Year    Value
AFG  Afghanistan    1950    20,249
AFG  Afghanistan    1951    21,352
AFG  Afghanistan    1952    22,532
AFG  Afghanistan    1953    23,557
AFG  Afghanistan    1954    24,555
ALB  Albania        1950    8,097
ALB  Albania        1951    8,986
ALB  Albania        1952    10,058
ALB  Albania        1953    11,123
ALB  Albania        1954    12,246

I have looked at and already tried using the melt() and the reshape() functions as some people were suggesting in similar questions. However, so far I only get messy results.

If it is possible I would like to do it with the reshape() function since it looks a little bit nicer to handle.

How to reshape data.frame from wide to long format? Answer #1:

Three alternative solutions:

1) With data.table:

You can use the same melt function as in the reshape2 package (which is an extended & improved implementation). melt from data.table has also more parameters that the melt-function from reshape2. You can for example also specify the name of the variable-column:

library(data.table)
long <- melt(setDT(wide), id.vars = c("Code","Country"), variable.name = "year")

which gives:

> long
    Code     Country year  value
 1:  AFG Afghanistan 1950 20,249
 2:  ALB     Albania 1950  8,097
 3:  AFG Afghanistan 1951 21,352
 4:  ALB     Albania 1951  8,986
 5:  AFG Afghanistan 1952 22,532
 6:  ALB     Albania 1952 10,058
 7:  AFG Afghanistan 1953 23,557
 8:  ALB     Albania 1953 11,123
 9:  AFG Afghanistan 1954 24,555
10:  ALB     Albania 1954 12,246

Some alternative notations:

melt(setDT(wide), id.vars = 1:2, variable.name = "year")
melt(setDT(wide), measure.vars = 3:7, variable.name = "year")
melt(setDT(wide), measure.vars = as.character(1950:1954), variable.name = "year")

2) With tidyr:

library(tidyr)
long <- wide %>% gather(year, value, -c(Code, Country))

Some alternative notations:

wide %>% gather(year, value, -Code, -Country)
wide %>% gather(year, value, -1:-2)
wide %>% gather(year, value, -(1:2))
wide %>% gather(year, value, -1, -2)
wide %>% gather(year, value, 3:7)
wide %>% gather(year, value, `1950`:`1954`)

3) With reshape2:

library(reshape2)
long <- melt(wide, id.vars = c("Code", "Country"))

Some alternative notations that give the same result:

# you can also define the id-variables by column number
melt(wide, id.vars = 1:2)

# as an alternative you can also specify the measure-variables
# all other variables will then be used as id-variables
melt(wide, measure.vars = 3:7)
melt(wide, measure.vars = as.character(1950:1954))

NOTES:

  • reshape2 is retired. Only changes necessary to keep it on CRAN will be made. (source)
  • If you want to exclude NA values, you can add na.rm = TRUE to the melt as well as the gather functions.

Another problem with the data is that the values will be read by R as character-values (as a result of the , in the numbers). You can repair that with gsub and as.numeric:

long$value <- as.numeric(gsub(",", "", long$value))

Or directly with data.table or dplyr:

# data.table
long <- melt(setDT(wide),
             id.vars = c("Code","Country"),
             variable.name = "year")[, value := as.numeric(gsub(",", "", value))]

# tidyr and dplyr
long <- wide %>% gather(year, value, -c(Code,Country)) %>% 
  mutate(value = as.numeric(gsub(",", "", value)))

Data:

wide <- read.table(text="Code Country        1950    1951    1952    1953    1954
AFG  Afghanistan    20,249  21,352  22,532  23,557  24,555
ALB  Albania        8,097   8,986   10,058  11,123  12,246", header=TRUE, check.names=FALSE)

How to reshape data.frame from wide to long format? Answer #2:

reshape() takes a while to get used to, just as melt/cast. Here is a solution with reshape, assuming your data frame is called d:

reshape(d, 
        direction = "long",
        varying = list(names(d)[3:7]),
        v.names = "Value",
        idvar = c("Code", "Country"),
        timevar = "Year",
        times = 1950:1954)

Answer #3:

Using reshape package:

#data
x <- read.table(textConnection(
"Code Country        1950    1951    1952    1953    1954
AFG  Afghanistan    20,249  21,352  22,532  23,557  24,555
ALB  Albania        8,097   8,986   10,058  11,123  12,246"), header=TRUE)

library(reshape)

x2 <- melt(x, id = c("Code", "Country"), variable_name = "Year")
x2[,"Year"] <- as.numeric(gsub("X", "" , x2[,"Year"]))

Answer #4:

With tidyr_1.0.0, another option is pivot_longer

library(tidyr)
pivot_longer(df1, -c(Code, Country), values_to = "Value", names_to = "Year")
# A tibble: 10 x 4
#   Code  Country     Year  Value 
#   <fct> <fct>       <chr> <fct> 
# 1 AFG   Afghanistan 1950  20,249
# 2 AFG   Afghanistan 1951  21,352
# 3 AFG   Afghanistan 1952  22,532
# 4 AFG   Afghanistan 1953  23,557
# 5 AFG   Afghanistan 1954  24,555
# 6 ALB   Albania     1950  8,097 
# 7 ALB   Albania     1951  8,986 
# 8 ALB   Albania     1952  10,058
# 9 ALB   Albania     1953  11,123
#10 ALB   Albania     1954  12,246

data

df1 <- structure(list(Code = structure(1:2, .Label = c("AFG", "ALB"), class = "factor"), 
    Country = structure(1:2, .Label = c("Afghanistan", "Albania"
    ), class = "factor"), `1950` = structure(1:2, .Label = c("20,249", 
    "8,097"), class = "factor"), `1951` = structure(1:2, .Label = c("21,352", 
    "8,986"), class = "factor"), `1952` = structure(2:1, .Label = c("10,058", 
    "22,532"), class = "factor"), `1953` = structure(2:1, .Label = c("11,123", 
    "23,557"), class = "factor"), `1954` = structure(2:1, .Label = c("12,246", 
    "24,555"), class = "factor")), class = "data.frame", row.names = c(NA, 
-2L))

Answer #5:

Here’s a sqldf solution:

sqldf("Select Code, Country, '1950' As Year, `1950` As Value From wide
        Union All
       Select Code, Country, '1951' As Year, `1951` As Value From wide
        Union All
       Select Code, Country, '1952' As Year, `1952` As Value From wide
        Union All
       Select Code, Country, '1953' As Year, `1953` As Value From wide
        Union All
       Select Code, Country, '1954' As Year, `1954` As Value From wide;")

To make the query without typing in everything, you can use the following:

Thanks to G. Grothendieck for implementing it.

ValCol <- tail(names(wide), -2)

s <- sprintf("Select Code, Country, '%s' As Year, `%s` As Value from wide", ValCol, ValCol)
mquery <- paste(s, collapse = "\n Union All\n")

cat(mquery) #just to show the query
 #> Select Code, Country, '1950' As Year, `1950` As Value from wide
 #>  Union All
 #> Select Code, Country, '1951' As Year, `1951` As Value from wide
 #>  Union All
 #> Select Code, Country, '1952' As Year, `1952` As Value from wide
 #>  Union All
 #> Select Code, Country, '1953' As Year, `1953` As Value from wide
 #>  Union All
 #> Select Code, Country, '1954' As Year, `1954` As Value from wide

sqldf(mquery)
 #>    Code     Country Year  Value
 #> 1   AFG Afghanistan 1950 20,249
 #> 2   ALB     Albania 1950  8,097
 #> 3   AFG Afghanistan 1951 21,352
 #> 4   ALB     Albania 1951  8,986
 #> 5   AFG Afghanistan 1952 22,532
 #> 6   ALB     Albania 1952 10,058
 #> 7   AFG Afghanistan 1953 23,557
 #> 8   ALB     Albania 1953 11,123
 #> 9   AFG Afghanistan 1954 24,555
 #> 10  ALB     Albania 1954 12,246

Unfortunately, I don’t think that PIVOT and UNPIVOT would work for R SQLite.

Hope you learned something from this post.

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