Contours of a 2d density estimate

Perform a 2D kernel density estimation using MASS::kde2d() and display the results with contours. This can be useful for dealing with overplotting. This is a 2d version of geom_density().

geom_density_2d(mapping = NULL, data = NULL, stat = "density2d",
  position = "identity", ..., lineend = "butt", linejoin = "round",
  linemitre = 10, na.rm = FALSE, show.legend = NA,
  inherit.aes = TRUE)

stat_density_2d(mapping = NULL, data = NULL, geom = "density_2d", position = "identity", ..., contour = TRUE, n = 100, h = NULL, na.rm = FALSE, show.legend = NA, inherit.aes = TRUE)


Set of aesthetic mappings created by aes() or aes_(). If specified and inherit.aes = TRUE (the default), it is combined with the default mapping at the top level of the plot. You must supply mapping if there is no plot mapping.


The data to be displayed in this layer. There are three options:

If NULL, the default, the data is inherited from the plot data as specified in the call to ggplot().

A data.frame, or other object, will override the plot data. All objects will be fortified to produce a data frame. See fortify() for which variables will be created.

A function will be called with a single argument, the plot data. The return value must be a data.frame, and will be used as the layer data. A function can be created from a formula (e.g. ~ head(.x, 10)).


Position adjustment, either as a string, or the result of a call to a position adjustment function.


Other arguments passed on to layer(). These are often aesthetics, used to set an aesthetic to a fixed value, like colour = "red" or size = 3. They may also be parameters to the paired geom/stat.


Line end style (round, butt, square).


Line join style (round, mitre, bevel).


Line mitre limit (number greater than 1).


If FALSE, the default, missing values are removed with a warning. If TRUE, missing values are silently removed.


logical. Should this layer be included in the legends? NA, the default, includes if any aesthetics are mapped. FALSE never includes, and TRUE always includes. It can also be a named logical vector to finely select the aesthetics to display.


If FALSE, overrides the default aesthetics, rather than combining with them. This is most useful for helper functions that define both data and aesthetics and shouldn't inherit behaviour from the default plot specification, e.g. borders().

geom, stat

Use to override the default connection between geom_density_2d and stat_density_2d.


If TRUE, contour the results of the 2d density estimation


number of grid points in each direction


Bandwidth (vector of length two). If NULL, estimated using MASS::bandwidth.nrd().


geom_density_2d() understands the following aesthetics (required aesthetics are in bold):

  • x

  • y

  • alpha

  • colour

  • group

  • linetype

  • size

Learn more about setting these aesthetics in vignette("ggplot2-specs").

Computed variables

Same as stat_contour()

With the addition of:


the density estimate


density estimate, scaled to maximum of 1

See Also

geom_contour() for information about how contours are drawn; geom_bin2d() for another way of dealing with overplotting.

  • geom_density_2d
  • geom_density2d
  • stat_density_2d
  • stat_density2d
m <- ggplot(faithful, aes(x = eruptions, y = waiting)) +
 geom_point() +
 xlim(0.5, 6) +
 ylim(40, 110)
m + geom_density_2d()
# }
m + stat_density_2d(aes(fill = stat(level)), geom = "polygon")

dsmall <- diamonds[sample(nrow(diamonds), 1000), ]
d <- ggplot(dsmall, aes(x, y))
# If you map an aesthetic to a categorical variable, you will get a
# set of contours for each value of that variable
d + geom_density_2d(aes(colour = cut))

# Similarly, if you apply faceting to the plot, contours will be
# drawn for each facet, but the levels will calculated across all facets
d + stat_density_2d(aes(fill = stat(level)), geom = "polygon") +
  facet_grid(. ~ cut) + scale_fill_viridis_c()
# To override this behavior (for instace, to better visualize the density
# within each facet), use stat(nlevel)
d + stat_density_2d(aes(fill = stat(nlevel)), geom = "polygon") +
  facet_grid(. ~ cut) + scale_fill_viridis_c()

# If we turn contouring off, we can use use geoms like tiles:
d + stat_density_2d(geom = "raster", aes(fill = stat(density)), contour = FALSE)
# Or points:
d + stat_density_2d(geom = "point", aes(size = stat(density)), n = 20, contour = FALSE)
# }
Documentation reproduced from package ggplot2, version 3.2.0, License: GPL-2 | file LICENSE

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