Unleashing the Power of TidyDensity: Simplifying Distribution Analysis in R


Steven P. Sanderson II, MPH


July 8, 2024


If you’re a data scientist or statistician who often deals with probability distributions, you know the importance of seamlessly integrating these functions into your workflow. That’s where the TidyDensity package comes into play. Designed to make producing r, d, p, and q data easy and compatible with the tidyverse, TidyDensity is a must-have tool in your R arsenal. In this post, we’ll explore the features and benefits of TidyDensity and show you why you should give it a try.

Why TidyDensity?

The primary goal of TidyDensity is to simplify the generation and manipulation of random samples (r), density (d), cumulative distribution (p), and quantile (q) functions. Traditional methods can be cumbersome and often require manual handling of data structures that don’t fit well with the tidyverse’s philosophy of tidy data. TidyDensity bridges this gap by providing functions that return results in a tidy format, making them easy to work with using dplyr, ggplot2, and other tidyverse packages.

Key Features

Seamless Integration with Tidyverse

TidyDensity ensures that all its output is in a tidy format, which means you can use the familiar suite of tidyverse tools to manipulate, visualize, and analyze your data. This compatibility streamlines your workflow and reduces the amount of data wrangling required.

Comprehensive Distribution Functions

Whether you’re dealing with normal, binomial, Poisson, or other distributions, TidyDensity has you covered. It includes functions for a wide range of distributions, each with options to generate random samples, calculate density, cumulative probabilities, and quantiles. This comprehensive coverage means you can rely on TidyDensity for almost any distribution-related task.

Easy-to-Use Functions

TidyDensity’s functions are designed with simplicity in mind. For example, to generate random samples from a normal distribution, you can use:


# Generate random samples from a normal distribution
normal_samples <- tidy_normal(.n = 100, .mean = 0, .sd = 1, .num_sims = 5)

# View the first few rows
# A tibble: 6 × 7
  sim_number     x       y    dx       dy      p       q
  <fct>      <int>   <dbl> <dbl>    <dbl>  <dbl>   <dbl>
1 1              1 -1.50   -3.15 0.000182 0.0664 -1.50  
2 1              2  0.370  -3.08 0.000325 0.644   0.370 
3 1              3  0.558  -3.01 0.000561 0.712   0.558 
4 1              4 -1.28   -2.95 0.000938 0.101  -1.28  
5 1              5  0.0298 -2.88 0.00153  0.512   0.0298
6 1              6  0.189  -2.82 0.00241  0.575   0.189 
 sim_number       x                y                  dx         
 1:100      Min.   :  1.00   Min.   :-2.45677   Min.   :-3.5658  
 2:100      1st Qu.: 25.75   1st Qu.:-0.68839   1st Qu.:-1.5753  
 3:100      Median : 50.50   Median :-0.02975   Median : 0.1216  
 4:100      Mean   : 50.50   Mean   :-0.02445   Mean   : 0.1223  
 5:100      3rd Qu.: 75.25   3rd Qu.: 0.66779   3rd Qu.: 1.8087  
            Max.   :100.00   Max.   : 3.10887   Max.   : 4.3583  
       dy                  p                 q           
 Min.   :0.0001153   Min.   :0.00701   Min.   :-2.45677  
 1st Qu.:0.0198717   1st Qu.:0.24560   1st Qu.:-0.68839  
 Median :0.1003394   Median :0.48813   Median :-0.02975  
 Mean   :0.1468798   Mean   :0.49049   Mean   :-0.02445  
 3rd Qu.:0.2658815   3rd Qu.:0.74787   3rd Qu.: 0.66779  
 Max.   :0.4688206   Max.   :0.99906   Max.   : 3.10887  

This code generates a tidy data frame with 100 random samples from a normal distribution with a mean of 0 and standard deviation of 1. You can then use dplyr and ggplot2 to manipulate and visualize this data effortlessly.

Practical Example

Let’s walk through a practical example to demonstrate how TidyDensity can be used in a typical data analysis workflow. Suppose you’re interested in analyzing the distribution of a sample dataset and visualizing its density.

# Load required libraries

# Generate random samples from a normal distribution
normal_samples <- tidy_normal(.n = 1000, .mean = 5, .sd = 2)

# Plot the density of the samples

In this example, we generate 1,000 random samples from a normal distribution with a mean of 5 and a standard deviation of 2. We then use ggplot2 to create a density plot, providing a clear visual representation of the distribution.

Try TidyDensity!

If you’re looking for a package that simplifies working with distributions while staying true to the tidyverse principles, TidyDensity is the solution you need. Its ease of use, comprehensive functionality, and seamless integration with the tidyverse make it an invaluable tool for anyone working with probability distributions in R.

I encourage you to try TidyDensity in your next project. Whether you’re conducting a detailed statistical analysis or simply need to generate random samples for simulation purposes, TidyDensity will make your life easier and your code cleaner.


TidyDensity is more than just another R package; it’s a tool designed to enhance your data analysis workflow by making distribution functions easy to use and compatible with the tidyverse. Give it a try and experience the difference it can make in your projects. For more information and detailed documentation, visit the TidyDensity index page.

Happy coding!