Pandas: How to check if a Series is empty (4 ways)

Updated: February 19, 2024 By: Guest Contributor Post a comment


Working with data in Python is virtually synonymous with using Pandas due to its power, flexibility, and clear syntax. Among the wide array of functionalities it offers, determining whether a Series is empty is a fundamental but crucial task. This tutorial dives into various methods to check if a Pandas Series is empty, presented through a gradually increasing complexity of examples.

Introduction to Pandas Series

Before jumping into the emptiness check, let’s briefly revisit what a Series is. A Pandas Series is a one-dimensional labeled array capable of holding data of any type (integers, strings, floating-point numbers, Python objects, etc.). The axis labels are collectively referred to as the index. Here’s how you can create a simple Series:

import pandas as pd
s = pd.Series([1, 2, 3, 4, 5])

This snippet creates a Series ‘s‘ containing numbers from 1 to 5.

Method 1: Using the empty Attribute

The most straightforward way to check if a Series is empty is by using the empty attribute. This property returns True if the Series is empty and False otherwise. Here’s a quick example:

import pandas as pd
empty_series = pd.Series([])



An empty Series defined as ‘empty_series‘ correctly returns True when checked with .empty.

Method 2: Checking the Series Size

Another method to assess if a Series is empty is by checking its size using the size attribute. A Series with size 0 is empty. Consider the following example:

import pandas as pd
non_empty_series = pd.Series([1, 2, 3])
empty_series = pd.Series([])
print('Non-empty Series size:', non_empty_series.size)
print('Empty Series size:', empty_series.size)


Non-empty Series size: 3
Empty Series size: 0

This demonstrates that the size attribute effectively indicates whether a Series is empty.

Method 3: Using the len() Function

The length of a Series can also be checked using the built-in len() function. Similar to the size attribute, an empty Series will have a length of 0. Here’s an example:

import pandas as pd
empty_series = pd.Series([])
non_empty_series = pd.Series([1, 2, 3])
print('Length of empty Series:', len(empty_series))
print('Length of non-empty Series:', len(non_empty_series))


Length of empty Series: 0
Length of non-empty Series: 3

As depicted, the len() function serves as another tool for checking the emptiness of a Series.

Advanced Techniques

While the methods above are quite straightforward, there might be cases where mere emptiness checks aren’t enough. Perhaps you need to take action based on whether a Series is empty. Let’s explore a finer approach that utilizes conditional statements:

import pandas as pd
s = pd.Series([])
if s.empty:
    print('Series is empty.')
    print('Series is not empty.')

In real-world applications, such conditional checks could trigger data loading, preprocessing, or other specific actions contingent upon the Series’ emptiness.

Dealing with NaN Values

It’s crucial to note that a Series containing only NaN (Not a Number) values is not considered empty. For specific use cases, you might wish to treat such Series as empty too. Handling this scenario requires combining emptiness checks with methods to detect NaN values, like isna() and all():

import pandas as pd
import numpy as np
s = pd.Series([np.nan, np.nan])
if s.empty:
    print('Series is empty.')
elif s.isna().all():
    print('Series is all NaN.')</nelse:
    print('Series contains some values.')

This approach distinguishes between truly empty Series, Series all of whose elements are NaN, and non-empty Series, providing a more nuanced control over your data.


Determining whether a Pandas Series is empty is fundamental in data cleaning and preprocessing tasks. This tutorial covered several methods from basic to advanced, ensuring you have the tools needed to perform these checks efficiently and adaptively. Whether you’re employing straightforward attributes like empty or size, or leveraging conditional logic for more complex scenarios, understanding how to accurately assess the emptiness of a Series is essential in effective data management.