Generate Random Sample of POSIXct Dates & Times in R (Example)


In this tutorial, I’ll show how to sample random dates and times in R programming.

The tutorial will contain the following content:

Let’s get started.


Example: Sample Random POSIXct Dates & Times Using seq() & sample() Functions

This example shows how to generate a random sample of POSIXct dates and times.

For this task, we first have to specify a sequence of dates and times between a certain range and with a particular time interval:

datetime_sequence <- seq(as.POSIXct('2020/01/01'),  # Create sequence of dates
                         by = "10 mins")
head(datetime_sequence)                             # Print head of sequence of dates
# [1] "2020-01-01 00:00:00 UTC" "2020-01-01 00:10:00 UTC"
# [3] "2020-01-01 00:20:00 UTC" "2020-01-01 00:30:00 UTC"
# [5] "2020-01-01 00:40:00 UTC" "2020-01-01 00:50:00 UTC"

Furthermore, we should set a random seed for reproducibility:

set.seed(3487635)                                   # Set random seed

In the next step, we can randomly draw dates and times from our sequence using the sample function:

datetime_random <- sample(datetime_sequence,        # Sample random dates from sequence
                          size = 500, 
                          replace = TRUE)
head(datetime_random)                               # Print head of random dates
# [1] "2029-04-29 02:50:00 UTC" "2026-02-28 17:30:00 UTC"
# [3] "2021-04-07 04:00:00 UTC" "2026-07-01 11:50:00 UTC"
# [5] "2025-09-03 21:50:00 UTC" "2020-10-31 10:40:00 UTC"

The previous output shows the first six dates and times of our random sample.


Video, Further Resources & Summary

Would you like to know more about the sampling of random dates and times? Then you might want to have a look at the following video on my YouTube channel. I’m demonstrating the contents of this page in the video.



Furthermore, you may want to read the other tutorials on my homepage:


In this tutorial you have learned how to draw a random sample of dates and times in R programming. If you have further questions, tell me about it in the comments.


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