[R] HELP - as.numeric changing column data

William Dunlap wdunlap at tibco.com
Wed Jan 6 22:23:38 CET 2016

You may have read in your data incorrectly - a column you expected to be
numeric was not recognized as such so it was read in a character and then
converted to a 'factor'.

FAQ 7.10 tells how to work around the problem

but a better solution is to repeatedly call read.table with various
parameters (esp. colClasses=c(...), header=TRUE/FALSE, dec=","/".",
stringsAsFactors=FALSE) until str(yourData) shows you that all the column
types are what you expect.

It is a waste of time to do much of anything with your data until
str(yourData) and some simple plots of it show you that it was read into R

Bill Dunlap
TIBCO Software
wdunlap tibco.com

On Wed, Jan 6, 2016 at 12:01 PM, Andy Schneider <andyschneider85 at gmail.com>

> Hi -
> I'm trying to plot some data and having a lot of trouble! I have a simple
> dataset consisting of two columns - income_per_capita and
> mass_beauty_value.
> When I read the data in and plot it, I get the attached plot Mass Beauty
> Non-Numeric:
> <http://r.789695.n4.nabble.com/file/n4716202/Mass_Beauty_Non-Numeric.jpg>
> .
> You can see that, while it contains all the values, the income_per_capita
> axis is out of order and there are some weird vertical lines happening.
> To fix this, I converted both columns to numerics using:
> mass_beauty$income_per_capita <- as.numeric(mass_beauty$income_per_capita)
> mass_beauty$mass_beauty_value <- as.numeric(mass_beauty$mass_beauty_value)
> When I did this, I noticed that my income_per_capita column's values
> suddenly changed. Whereas I have values extending all the way to 30,000 or
> so before, now they maxed out at around 1,400. While at first I thought
> they
> might at least have changed to scale, it unfortunately looks like changes
> were more or less random. But, they plotted much better:
> <http://r.789695.n4.nabble.com/file/n4716202/Mass_Beauty_Plot.jpg> .
> Does anyone have any solution for how I can convert my income_per_capita
> column to a plottable numeric without changing up its values? I've tried
> doing as.numeric(as.character(mass_beauty_value$income_per_capita)) but it
> didn't work.
> Thanks so much for your help!
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