Using DataFrame.droplevel() method in Pandas (4 examples)

Updated: February 20, 2024 By: Guest Contributor Post a comment


In data analysis, managing the levels of a DataFrame’s index is a common task, especially when dealing with multi-index (hierarchical) structures. Pandas, the powerful data manipulation library in Python, offers a convenient method for this: droplevel(). This tutorial explores how to use the droplevel() method with various examples, ranging from basic to advanced applications.

When to Use droplevel()?

Pandas DataFrames can have multiple levels of indices, known as MultiIndex. These structures are useful for representing high-dimensional data compactly. However, there are scenarios where you might want to remove one or more of these levels. The droplevel() method offers a neat solution for this, allowing users to drop unwanted index levels without losing the core data.

Basic Usage

First, let’s explore the basic usage of droplevel().

import pandas as pd

# Create a sample DataFrame
mi = pd.MultiIndex.from_arrays([
    ['A', 'B'],
    ['a', 'b']],
    names=['Level 1', 'Level 2'])

df = pd.DataFrame({
    'Data': [1, 2]
}, index=mi)

# Drop Level 2
new_df = df.droplevel('Level 2')


This code snippet creates a DataFrame with a multi-level index and uses droplevel() to remove ‘Level 2’, simplifying the index structure. The expected output would look like this:

Level 1     
A          1
B          2

Multiple Level Drop

Next, let’s drop multiple levels at once.

import pandas as pd

# Continue from previous example

# Drop both levels
new_df_multi = df.droplevel(['Level 1', 'Level 2'])


The output for dropping both levels will show a DataFrame without any index:

0    1
1    2

Advanced Use Cases

Moving onto more advanced examples, let’s manipulate a DataFrame that involves time series data and grouped operations.

Example 3: Grouped Time Series

import pandas as pd

# Generating sample time series data
dates = pd.date_range('20230101', periods=6)
mi = pd.MultiIndex.from_product([
    ['A', 'B']],
    names=['Date', 'Type'])
dt_df = pd.DataFrame({
    'Value': range(1, 13)
}, index=mi)

# Group by 'Date' and sum values
sum_df = dt_df.groupby(level='Date').sum()

# Demonstrating droplevel with grouped data
sum_dropped = sum_df.droplevel('Date')

# Since dropping 'Date' from a grouped DataFrame doesn't make much sense and won't change the structure, this example is to demonstrate it won't have an impactful output.

This example may not visually demonstrate a significant change because dropping a level that’s already been consolidated during grouping has minimal impact. Nonetheless, it showcases droplevel()‘s flexibility.

Example 4: Reshaping DataFrames with Pivot Tables

import pandas as pd

# Sample sales data
sales_data = pd.DataFrame({
    'Date': pd.date_range('20230101', periods=3),
    'Product': ['A', 'B', 'C'],
    'Sales': [100, 150, 200]

# Create a pivot table
pivot = sales_data.pivot(index='Date', columns='Product', values='Sales')

# Now, let's drop the 'Product' level from the columns
pivot_dropped = pivot.columns.droplevel(0)


This example shows how to reshape a DataFrame using pivot tables and then streamline its structure by dropping an index level on the columns. It’s a useful trick for when you’re preparing data for visualizations or further analysis.


The droplevel() method in Pandas is a powerful tool for efficiently managing and simplifying the structure of your DataFrames, especially when dealing with multi-level indices. Through the examples provided, we’ve seen its versatility in action, from basic index management to more advanced data manipulation techniques. Understanding how to use droplevel() empowers users to adapt the structure of their data to better suit their analysis needs, ultimately making data handling tasks easier and more intuitive.