Pandas: How to see the data types of each column in a DataFrame

Updated: February 21, 2024 By: Guest Contributor Post a comment


When working with data in Python, Pandas is a go-to library for data manipulation and analysis. It provides powerful and flexible tools to handle large and complex datasets with ease. One of the foundational steps in data preprocessing and exploration is understanding the structure of your DataFrame, particularly the data types of each column. Different data types can significantly affect the operations you can perform on a DataFrame and the types of analysis you can conduct.

In this tutorial, you’ll learn how to effectively see the data types of each column in a DataFrame using Pandas. We’ll start with basic examples and progressively delve into more advanced scenarios, providing code examples and their outputs at every step.

Getting Started with Pandas

Before jumping into the how-tos, let’s ensure that Pandas is installed in your environment:

pip install pandas

Import Pandas in your Python script or notebook:

import pandas as pd

Create a basic DataFrame to work with:

data = {'Name': ['Alice', 'Bob', 'Charlie'],
        'Age': [25, 30, 35],
        'Salary': [50000, 60000, 70000]}
df = pd.DataFrame(data)

Our initial DataFrame contains names, ages, and salaries. Let’s start exploring the data types of this DataFrame.

Viewing Data Types Using dtypes

To view the data types of each column in a DataFrame, Pandas provides a simple attribute: dtypes. Let’s use it:



Name      object
Age       int64
Salary    int64

As seen, the dtypes attribute quickly shows us that the ‘Name’ column is of object type (usually denoting strings), while both ‘Age’ and ‘Salary’ are integer types.

Diving Deeper: Understanding Each Data Type

Understanding what each data type means is crucial for data manipulation and analysis:

  • object: Typically strings or text. However, it can also hold any Python object.
  • int64: Integer numbers without a decimal point. 64 denotes the bit size, allowing for a large range of values.
  • float64: Floating-point numbers, which include decimal points.
  • bool: Boolean values, True or False.
  • datetime64, timedelta[ns]: For date and time values.

Customizing the DataFrame for a More Complex Scenario

Let’s create a more complex DataFrame to see how Pandas handles different data types:

import numpy as np

# Creating a more complex DataFrame
data = {'Name': ['Alice', 'Bob', 'Charlie', 'David'],
        'Age': [25, np.nan, 35, 45],
        'Salary': [50000.00, 60000.00, np.nan, 80000.00],
        'Employed': [True, True, False, True],
        'Join Date': pd.to_datetime(['2012-05-01', '2014-06-23', 'NaN', '2019-08-15'])}
df = pd.DataFrame(data)

In this DataFrame, we introduced NaN values (using NumPy), floating-point salaries, a boolean ‘Employed’ column, and ‘Join Date’ as a datetime object. Now, let’s check the data types again:



Name                 object
Age                  float64
Salary               float64
Employed             bool
Join Date            datetime64[ns]

This output reveals the versatility in handling different data types, including handling missing values (NaN) which automatically converts integer columns to floats.

Advanced Tips: Exploring and Converting Data Types

Understanding the data types is one thing, but what if you need to change them? Pandas makes it very simple to convert data types:

# Converting 'Salary' to integer (note: NaN values need handling first)
df['Salary'] = df['Salary'].fillna(0).astype('int64')


0   50000
1   60000
2       0
3   80000

This conversion is particularly useful when preparing data for machine learning models or when optimizing memory usage by choosing more appropriate data types.

Using info() For a Comprehensive Overview

For a more detailed understanding of your DataFrame’s structure and data types, the info() method is invaluable. It not only lists data types but also counts non-null values, which can give insights into data completeness:

This method provides a more comprehensive overview than dtypes, especially for large DataFrames. Use it as part of your routine data exploration practices.


Understanding the data types of your DataFrame is essential for effective data analysis and manipulation. With Pandas, seeing and converting these data types is straightforward, enhancing your data preprocessing workflow. Mastering these tasks will significantly benefit your data science projects.