Compare Irish census years with compareBars and csodata package in R

Packages we will need:


First, let’s download population data from the Irish census with the Central Statistics Office (CSO) API package, developed by Conor Crowley.

You can search for the data you want to analyse via R or you can go to the CSO website and browse around the site.

I prefer looking through the site because sometimes I stumble across a dataset I didn’t even think to look for!

Keep note of the code beside the red dot star symbol if you’re looking around for datasets.

Click here to check out the CRAN PDF for the CSO package.

You can search for keywords with cso_search_toc(). I want total population counts for the whole country.

cso_search_toc("total population")

We can download the variables we want by entering the code into the cso_get_data() function

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irish_pop <- cso_get_data("EY007")

The EY007 code downloads population census data in both 2011 and 2016 at every age.

It needs a little bit of tidying to get it ready for graphing.

irish_pop %<>%  

First, we can be lazy and use the clean_names() function from the janitor package.

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Next we can get rid of the rows that we don’t want with select().

Then we use the pivot_longer() function to turn the data.frame from wide to long and to turn the x2011 and x2016 variables into one year variable.

irish_pop %>% 
  filter(at_each_year_of_age == "Population") %>% 
  filter(sex == 'Both sexes') %>% 
  filter(age_last_birthday != "All ages") %>% 
  select(!statistic) %>% 
  select(!sex) %>% 
  select(!at_each_year_of_age) -> irish_wide

irish_wide %>% 
    names_to = "year", 
    values_to = "pop_count",
    values_drop_na = TRUE) %>% 
    mutate(year = as.factor(year)) -> irish_long

No we can create our pyramid chart with the pyramid_chart() from the ggcharts package. The first argument is the age category for both the 2011 and 2016 data. The second is the actual population counts for each year. Last, enter the group variable that indicates the year.

irish_long %>%   
  pyramid_chart(age_last_birthday, pop_count, year)

One problem with the pyramid chart is that it is difficult to discern any differences between the two years without really really examining each year.

One way to more easily see the differences with the compareBars function

The compareBars package created by David Ranzolin can help to simplify comparative bar charts! It’s a super simple function to use that does a lot of visualisation leg work under the hood!

First we need to pivot the data.frame back to wide format and then input the age, and then the two groups – x2011 and x2016 – in the compareBars() function.

We can add more labels and colors to customise the graph also!

irish_long %>% 
  pivot_wider(names_from = year, values_from = pop_count) %>% 
  compareBars(age_last_birthday, x2011, x2016, orientation = "horizontal",
              xLabel = "Population",
              yLabel = "Year",
              titleLabel = "Irish Populations",
              subtitleLabel = "Comparing 2011 and 2016",
              fontFamily = "Arial",
              compareVarFill1 = "#FE6D73",
              compareVarFill2 = "#17C3B2") 

We can see that under the age of four-ish, 2011 had more at the time. And again, there were people in their twenties in 2011 compared to 2016.

However, there are more older people in 2016 than in 2011.

Similar to above it is a bit busy! So we can create groups for every five age years categories and examine the broader trends with fewer horizontal bars.

First we want to remove the word “years” from the age variable and convert it to a numeric class variable. We can easily do this with the parse_number() function from the readr package

irish_wide %<>% 
mutate(age_num = readr::parse_number(as.character(age_last_birthday))) 

Next we can group the age years together into five year categories, zero to 5 years, 6 to 10 years et cetera.

We use the cut() function to divide the numeric age_num variable into equal groups. We use the seq() function and input age 0 to 100, in increments of 5.

irish_wide$age_group = cut(irish_wide$age_num, seq(0, 100, 5))

Next, we can use group_by() to calculate the sum of each population number in each five year category.

And finally, we use the distinct() function to remove the duplicated rows (i.e. we only want to keep the first row that gives us the five year category’s population count for each category.

irish_wide %<>% 
  group_by(age_group) %>% 
  mutate(five_year_2011 = sum(x2011)) %>% 
  mutate(five_year_2016 = sum(x2016)) %>% 
  distinct(five_year_2011, five_year_2016, .keep_all = TRUE)

Next plot the bar chart with the five year categories

compareBars(irish_wide, age_group, five_year_2011, five_year_2016, orientation = "horizontal",
              xLabel = "Population",
              yLabel = "Year",
              titleLabel = "Irish Populations",
              subtitleLabel = "Comparing 2011 and 2016",
              fontFamily = "Arial",
              compareVarFill1 = "#FE6D73",
              compareVarFill2 = "#17C3B2") 

irish_wide2 %>% 
  select(age_group, five_year_2011, five_year_2016) %>% 
             names_to = "year", 
             values_to = "pop_count",
             values_drop_na = TRUE) %>% 
  mutate(year = as.factor(year)) -> irishlong2

irishlong2 %>%   
  pyramid_chart(age_group, pop_count, year)

Make Wes Anderson themed graphs with wesanderson package in R

Well this is just delightful!


After you install the wesanderson package, you can

  1. create a ggplot2 graph object
  2. choose the Wes Anderson color scheme you want to use and create a palette object
  3. add the graph object and and the palette object and behold your beautiful data
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I want to examine the breakdown of how each head of state was appointed to rule the country and the type of regime. First I’ll examine the break down in the 18th century.

To generate a vector of colors, the wes_palette() function requires:

wes_palette(name, n, type = c("discrete", "continuous"))
  • name: Name of desired palette
  • n: Number of colors desired (i.e. how many categories. In my case, there are four regime types so n = 4).
  • type: Either “continuous” or “discrete”. Use continuous if you want to automatically interpolate between colors.
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eighteenth_century <- data_1880s %>%
filter(! %>%
filter(! %>%
ggplot(aes(appointment)) + geom_bar(aes(fill = factor(regime)), position = position_stack(reverse = TRUE)) + theme(legend.position = "top", text = element_text(size=15), axis.text.x = element_text(angle = -30, vjust = 1, hjust = 0))

Both the regime variable and the appointment variable are discrete categories so we can use the geom_bar() function. When adding the palette to the barplot object, we can use the scale_fill_manual() function.

eighteenth_century + scale_fill_manual(values = wes_palette("Darjeeling1", n = 4)

Now to compare the breakdown with countries in the 21st century (2000 to present)

The names of all the palettes you can enter into the wes_anderson() function

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Include country labels to a regression plot with ggplot2 package in R

Sometimes the best way to examine the relationship between our variables of interest is to plot it out and give it a good looking over. For me, it’s most helpful to see where different countries are in relation to each other and to see any interesting outliers.

For this, I can use the geom_text() function from the ggplot2 package.

I will look at the relationship between economic globalization and social globalization in OECD countries in the year 2000.

The KOF Globalisation Index, introduced by Dreher (2006) measures globalization along the economicsocial and political dimension for most countries in the world

First, as always, we install and load the necessary package. This time, it is the ggplot2 package


Next add the following code:

fin <- ggplot(oecd2000, aes(economic_globalization, social_globalization)) 
        + ggtitle("Relationship between Globalization Index Scores among OECD countries in 2000")
        + scale_x_continuous("Economic Globalization Index")
        + scale_y_continuous("Social Globalization Index") 
        + geom_smooth(method = "lm") 
        + geom_point(aes(colour = polity_score), size = 2) + labs(color = "Polity Score")
        + geom_text(hjust = 0, nudge_x = 0.5, size = 4, aes(label = country)) 


In the aes() function, we enter the two variables we want to plot.

Then I use the next three lines to add titles to axes and graph

I use the geom_smooth() function with the “lm” method to add a best fitting regression line through the points on the plot. Click here to learn more about adding a regression line to a plot.

I add a legend to examine where countries with different democracy scores (taken from the Polity Index) are located on the globalization plane. Click here to learn about adding legends.

The last line is the geom_text() function that I use to specify that I want to label each observation (i.e. each OECD country) with its name, rather than the default dataset number.

Some geom_text() commands to use:

  • nudge_x (or nudge_y) slightly “nudge” the labels from their corresponding points to help minimise messy overlapping.
  • hjust and vjust move the text label “left”, “center”, “right”, “bottom”, “middle” or “top” of the point.

Yes, yes! There is a package that uses the color palettes of Wes Anderson movies to make graphs look just beautiful. Click here to use different Wes Anderson aesthetic themed graphs!

zissou_colors <- wes_palette("Zissou1", 100, type = "continuous")

fin + scale_color_gradientn(colours = zissou_colors)

Which outputs:

Interestingly, it seems that at the very bottom left hand corner of the plot (which shows the countries that are both low in economic globalization and low in social globalization), we have two OECD countries that score high on democracy – Japan and South Korea- right next to two countries that score the lowest in the OECD on democracy, Turkey and Mexico.

So it could be interesting to further examine why these countries from opposite ends of the democracy spectrum have similar pattern of low globalization. It puts a spanner in the proverbial works with my working theory that countries higher in democracy are more likely to be more globalized! What is special about these two high democracy countries that gives them such low scores on globalization.

Create facetted scatterplots with the ggplot2 package in R

If I want to graphically display the relationship between two variables, the ggplot2 package is a very handy way to produce graphs.

For example, I can use the ggplot2 package to graphically examine the relationship between civil society strength and freedom of citizens from torture. Also I can see whether this relationship is the same across regime types.

I choose one year from my dataframe to examine.

data2000 <- myPanel[which(myPanel$year == "2000"),]

Next, I install the ggplot2 package


The grammar of ggplot2 includes:

  • aes() indicates how variables are mapped to visual properties or aesthetics. The first variable goes on the x-axis and the second variable goes on the y-axis.
  • geom_point() creates a scatterplot style graph. Alternatives to this are geom_line(), which creates a line plot and geom_histogram() which creates a histogram plot.

ggplot(data2000, aes(v2xcs_ccsi, v2cltort)) + geom_point() +
xlab("Civil society robustness") +
ylab("Freedom from torture")

Next we can add information on regime types, a categorical variable with four levels.

0 = closed autocracy

1 = electoral autocracy

2 = electoral democracy

3 = liberal democracy

In the aes() function, add colour = regime to differentiate the four categories on the graph

ggplot(data2000, aes(v2xcs_ccsi, v2x_clphy, colour = regime)) +

Alternatively we can use the facet_wrap( ~ regime) function to create four separate scatterplots and examine the relationship separately.

ggplot(data2000, aes(v2xcs_ccsi, v2x_clphy, colour = regime)) +
geom_point() +
facet_wrap(~regime) +
xlab("Civil society robustness") +
ylab("Freedom from torture")

Lastly, we can add a linear model line (method = "lm") with a grey standard error bar (se = TRUE) in the geom_smooth() function.

ggplot(data2000, aes(v2xcs_ccsi, v2x_clphy, colour = regime)) +
geom_point() +
facet_wrap(~regime) +
geom_smooth(method = "lm", se = TRUE) +
xlab("Civil society robustness") +
ylab("Freedom from torture")

In these graphs, we can see that as civil society robustness score increases, the likelihood of a life free from torture increases! Pretty intuitive result and we could argue that there is a third variable – namely strong democratic institutions – that drives this positive relationship.

The graphs break down this relationship across four different regime types, ranging from the most autocratic in the top left hand side to the most democratic in the bottom right. There is more variety in this relationship with closed autocracies (i.e. the red points), with some points deviating far from the line.

The purple graph – liberal democracies – shows a tiny amount of variance. In liberal democracies, it appears that all countries score highly in both civil society robustness and freedom from torture!