Dropping Columns with NaN Values in Pandas DataFrame: A Comprehensive Guide
Are you struggling to work with a dataset that contains missing values? Fear not, as Pandas DataFrame has got your back.
In this article, we will explore two ways to drop columns with NaN values in a Pandas DataFrame.
Method 1: Drop any column that contains at least one NaN
When we analyze data, having NaN values can be quite tricky.
One approach to deal with these missing values is to simply drop the columns that contain them. Here is how we can do it:
import pandas as pd
import numpy as np
# create a sample dataframe
df = pd.DataFrame({'A': [1, 2, np.nan, 4],
'B': [5, np.nan, 7, 8],
'C': [9, 10, 11, 12],
'D': [np.nan, np.nan, np.nan, np.nan],
'E': [13, 14, 15, 16]})
# display the original dataframe
print('Original DataFrame:')
print(df)
# drop columns with NaN values
df = df.dropna(axis=1)
# display the dataframe after dropping columns
print('DataFrame after dropping columns with NaN values:')
print(df)
In this example, we create a sample dataframe with five columns where columns ‘A’, ‘B’, ‘D’ have NaN values. We then use the dropna
function to drop the columns with NaN values along the column axis (axis=1
).
As a result, we obtain a new dataframe without the dropped columns.
Method 2: Drop column/s where ALL the values are NaN
In some cases, you may want to drop columns only if ALL their values are NaN.
Here is how we can do it:
import pandas as pd
import numpy as np
# create a sample dataframe
df = pd.DataFrame({'A': [1, 2, np.nan, 4],
'B': [5, np.nan, 7, 8],
'C': [9, 10, 11, 12],
'D': [np.nan, np.nan, np.nan, np.nan],
'E': [13, 14, 15, 16]})
# display the original dataframe
print('Original DataFrame:')
print(df)
# drop columns with ALL NaN values
df = df.loc[:, ~df.isnull().all()]
# display the dataframe after dropping columns
print('DataFrame after dropping columns with ALL NaN values:')
print(df)
In this example, we create a sample dataframe with five columns where column ‘D’ has all NaN values. We then use the loc
and isnull
function to identify the columns with all NaN values.
The ~
operator is then used to return a dataframe without the columns we just identified. As a result, we obtain a new dataframe without the dropped column.
Conclusion
Dropping columns with NaN values can be quite a powerful technique when working with a dataset with missing values. We hope this article has given you a better understanding of how to identify the columns with NaN values and remove them from a Pandas DataFrame.
Whenever you have missing data, consider using one of these methods to deal with them. Happy coding!
Delving Deeper: Two Methods Explained
In this article, we will delve deeper into the two methods outlined earlier, on how to drop columns with NaN values in a Pandas DataFrame.
Method 1: Drop any column that contains at least one NaN
The first method of dropping columns with NaN values is by simply dropping any column that contains at least one NaN value. The dropna()
function in Pandas DataFrame can be used to achieve this.
Here is a template for dropping columns with at least one NaN value:
df.dropna(axis=1, inplace=True)
Explanation of the code:
df
is the DataFrame that we want to modify.axis=1
means we want to drop any column that has any NaN value in it, so we are dropping along the column axis.inplace=True
means that we will modify the original DataFrame we are working with rather than creating a new one.
Here is an example using a hypothetical DataFrame:
import pandas as pd
import numpy as np
# create DataFrame with NaN values
df = pd.DataFrame({'A': [1, 2, np.nan],
'B': [3, np.nan, 5],
'C': [6, 7, 8]})
# print original DataFrame
print("Original DataFrame:n", df)
# drop any column with NaN values
df.dropna(axis=1, inplace=True)
# print updated DataFrame
print("nUpdated DataFrame:n", df)
Output:
Original DataFrame:
A B C
0 1.0 3.0 6
1 2.0 NaN 7
2 NaN 5.0 8
Updated DataFrame:
C
0 6
1 7
2 8
As you can see, column ‘A’ and column ‘B’ were dropped as they had a NaN value in them. The new DataFrame only has the nonNaN value column ‘C’.
Method 2: Drop column/s where ALL the values are NaN
The second method is to drop columns where all values are NaN. This means that if there is a column with just one nonNaN value, it will be kept.
We can use the dropna()
function in Pandas DataFrame for this method as well.
Here is a template for dropping columns with only NaN values:
df.dropna(axis=1, how='all', inplace=True)
Explanation of the code:
df
is the DataFrame that we want to modify.axis=1
means we want to drop along the column axis.how='all'
means that we want to drop the columns where all of its values are NaN.inplace=True
means that we will modify the original DataFrame we are working with rather than creating a new one.
Here is an example using a hypothetical DataFrame:
import pandas as pd
import numpy as np
# create DataFrame with columns having only NaN values
df = pd.DataFrame({'A': [np.nan, np.nan],
'B': [np.nan, np.nan],
'C': [1, 2]})
# print original DataFrame
print("Original DataFrame:n", df)
# drop columns with only NaN values
df.dropna(axis=1, how='all', inplace=True)
# print updated DataFrame
print("nUpdated DataFrame:n", df)
Output:
Original DataFrame:
A B C
0 NaN NaN 1
1 NaN NaN 2
Updated DataFrame:
C
0 1
1 2
As you can see, columns ‘A’ and ‘B’ were dropped as they had only NaN values. The new DataFrame only has the column ‘C’, which has at least one nonNaN value.
Conclusion
In this article, we discussed two methods on how to drop columns with NaN values in a Pandas DataFrame. This is a powerful technique when working with a dataset with missing values.
By identifying the NaN values and removing them, we can then analyze the remaining data more effectively.
Further Resources
In this article, we have covered two methods on how to drop columns with NaN values in a Pandas DataFrame.
However, this is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to working with data in Pandas. If you are interested in learning more, below are some additional resources that can help you dive deeper into this powerful library.

Pandas documentation
The official documentation for Pandas is a great place to start for anyone working with this library.
They have a comprehensive user guide, API reference, and tutorials that cover everything from reading/writing data to data manipulation, cleaning, merging, and visualization.

Pandas Cookbook
The Pandas Cookbook is a free resource offered by the authors of the Pandas library. It provides a comprehensive guide with code examples on how to use Pandas for common data analysis tasks.
Additionally, it offers practical solutions to realworld problems for demonstrating the practicality of Pandas.
Link: https://pandas.pydata.org/pandasdocs/stable/user_guide/cookbook.html

DataSchool
DataSchool is an online platform that provides free tutorials on data science using Python, including Pandas. Their tutorials are wellstructured and beginner friendly, making it easier for anyone to learn Pandas.
Link: https://www.dataschool.io/easierdataanalysiswithpandas/

Kaggle
Kaggle is a wellknown platform for data science competitions and hosting datasets.
It offers an extensive library of datasets that can be used for learning Pandas. Kaggle also has a community forum where learners can ask questions, share experience, and make contributions.

Real Python
Real Python is a popular website for learning Python and its libraries.
They offer a course on Pandas that covers all aspects of using the library for data analysis and visualization. The course is designed for both beginners and advanced users.
In conclusion, by following the approaches outlined in this article and utilizing the additional resources we have presented, you will be wellequipped to handle data cleaning and manipulation tasks in Pandas. With practice, you will be able to effectively drop columns with NaN values and other missing data from your datasets, allowing for smooth data analysis and valuable insights.
Happy learning!
In this article, we explored two methods to drop columns with NaN values in a Pandas DataFrame. The first method drops any column that contains at least one NaN, and the second method drops columns where all values are NaN.
These methods are powerful for dealing with missing data, making data analysis smoother and enabling valuable insights. To learn more about working with Pandas and data analysis techniques, we recommend exploring additional resources, such as the official documentation and free tutorials available from various platforms.
Overall, by mastering these techniques, you can better handle your data and unlock its potential in various fields of study.