rank: Sample Ranks

rankR Documentation

Sample Ranks


Returns the sample ranks of the values in a vector. Ties (i.e., equal values) and missing values can be handled in several ways.


rank(x, na.last = TRUE,
     ties.method = c("average", "first", "last", "random", "max", "min"))



a numeric, complex, character or logical vector.


for controlling the treatment of NAs. If TRUE, missing values in the data are put last; if FALSE, they are put first; if NA, they are removed; if "keep" they are kept with rank NA.


a character string specifying how ties are treated, see ‘Details’; can be abbreviated.


If all components are different (and no NAs), the ranks are well defined, with values in seq_along(x). With some values equal (called ‘ties’), the argument ties.method determines the result at the corresponding indices. The "first" method results in a permutation with increasing values at each index set of ties, and analogously "last" with decreasing values. The "random" method puts these in random order whereas the default, "average", replaces them by their mean, and "max" and "min" replaces them by their maximum and minimum respectively, the latter being the typical sports ranking.

NA values are never considered to be equal: for na.last = TRUE and na.last = FALSE they are given distinct ranks in the order in which they occur in x.

NB: rank is not itself generic but xtfrm is, and rank(xtfrm(x), ....) will have the desired result if there is a xtfrm method. Otherwise, rank will make use of ==, >, is.na and extraction methods for classed objects, possibly rather slowly.


A numeric vector of the same length as x with names copied from x (unless na.last = NA, when missing values are removed). The vector is of integer type unless x is a long vector or ties.method = "average" when it is of double type (whether or not there are any ties).


Becker, R. A., Chambers, J. M. and Wilks, A. R. (1988) The New S Language. Wadsworth & Brooks/Cole.

See Also

order and sort; xtfrm, see above.


(r1 <- rank(x1 <- c(3, 1, 4, 15, 92)))
x2 <- c(3, 1, 4, 1, 5, 9, 2, 6, 5, 3, 5)
names(x2) <- letters[1:11]
(r2 <- rank(x2)) # ties are averaged

## rank() is "idempotent": rank(rank(x)) == rank(x) :
stopifnot(rank(r1) == r1, rank(r2) == r2)

## ranks without averaging
rank(x2, ties.method= "first")  # first occurrence wins
rank(x2, ties.method= "last")   #  last occurrence wins
rank(x2, ties.method= "random") # ties broken at random
rank(x2, ties.method= "random") # and again

## keep ties ties, no average
(rma <- rank(x2, ties.method= "max"))  # as used classically
(rmi <- rank(x2, ties.method= "min"))  # as in Sports
stopifnot(rma + rmi == round(r2 + r2))

## Comparing all tie.methods:
tMeth <- eval(formals(rank)$ties.method)
rx2 <- sapply(tMeth, function(M) rank(x2, ties.method=M))
cbind(x2, rx2)
## ties.method's does not matter w/o ties:
x <- sample(47)
rx <- sapply(tMeth, function(MM) rank(x, ties.method=MM))
stopifnot(all(rx[,1] == rx))