I stumbled across this question when browsing through StackOverflow and it got me thinking: what’s the best way to count the number of elements in a list that match a certain condition? Can you generalize this way to both general conditions (e.g. `x>3`

) and regular expressions (e.g. `'a.*'`

)?

**Short answer: you can count the number of elements x that match a certain condition(x) by using the one-liner expression sum(condition(x) for x in lst). This creates a generator expression that returns True for each element that satisfies the condition and False otherwise. Since the True and False values are represented by integer 1 and 0 values, you get the number of matching elements by summing over the iterable.**

Try it yourself with the interactive code shell:

In case, the browser interpreter doesn’t show up in your browser, here’s the raw Python code:

## FRAMEWORK FOR CONDITIONAL COUNT ## # Define any condition here def condition(x): return x > 10 # Create the list lst = [10, 11, 42, 1, 2, 3] # Count the number of matching elements print(sum(condition(x) for x in lst)) # What's the output?

**Related articles:**

Table of Contents

## Python List Count With Condition

How can you count elements under a certain condition in Python? For example, what if you want to count all even values in a list? Or all prime numbers? Or all strings that start with a certain character? There are multiple ways to accomplish this, let’s discuss them one by one.

Say, you have a condition for each element `x`

. Let’s make it a function with the name `condition(x)`

. You can define any condition you want—just put it in your function. For example this condition returns True for all elements that are greater than the integer 10:

def condition(x): return x > 10 print(condition(10)) # False print(condition(2)) # False print(condition(11)) # True

But you can also define more complicated conditions such as checking if they are prime numbers.

### Python List Count If

**How can you count the elements of the list IF the condition is met?**

The answer is to use a simple generator expression `sum(condition(x) for x in lst)`

:

>>> def condition(x): return x>10 >>> lst = [10, 11, 42, 1, 2, 3] >>> sum(condition(x) for x in lst) 2

The result indicates that there are two elements that are larger than 10. You used a generator expression that returns an iterator of Booleans. Note that the Boolean `True`

is represented by the integer value 1 and the Boolean `False`

is represented by the integer value 0. That’s why you can simply calculate the sum over all Booleans to obtain the number of elements for which the condition holds.

### Python List Count Greater / Smaller Than

If you want to determine the number of elements that are greater than or smaller than a specified value, just modify the condition in this example:

>>> def condition(x): return x>10 >>> lst = [10, 11, 42, 1, 2, 3] >>> sum(condition(x) for x in lst) 2

For example, to find the number of elements smaller than 5, use the condition x<5 in the generator expression:

>>> lst = [10, 11, 42, 1, 2, 3] >>> sum(x<5 for x in lst) 3

### Python List Count Zero / Non-Zero

To count the number of zeros in a given list, use the `list.count(0)`

method call.

To count the number of non-zeros in a given list, you should use *conditional counting *as discussed before:

def condition(x): return x!=0 lst = [10, 11, 42, 1, 2, 0, 0, 0] print(sum(condition(x) for x in lst)) # 5

### Python List Count Lambda + Map

An alternative is to use a combination of the map and the lambda function.

**Related articles:**

- [Full Tutorial] Map Function: manipulates each element in an iterable.
- [Full Tutorial] Lambda Function: creates an anonymous function.

Here’s the code:

>>> sum(map(lambda x: x%2==0, [1, 2, 3, 4, 5])) 2

You count the number of even integers in the list.

- The lambda function returns a truth value for a given element
`x`

. - The map function transforms each list element into a Boolean value (1 or 0).
- The sum function sums up the “1”s.

The result is the number of elements for which the condition evaluates to `True`

.

## Python List Count Regex / Count Matches

Given a list of strings. How can you check how many list elements match a certain regex pattern? (If you need a refresher on Python regular expressions, check out my ultimate guide on this blog – it’s really ultimate!)

- List
`lst`

of string elements - Pattern
`p`

to be matched against the strings in the list.

**Solution**: Use the concept of generator expressions with the ternary operator.

**Related articles:**

Here’s the code:

>>> import re >>> p = 'a...e' >>> lst = ['annie', 'alice', 'apex'] >>> sum(1 if re.match(p, x) else 0 for x in lst) 2

## Python List Count Wildcard

Do you want to count all string occurrences of a given prefix (e.g. prefix `"Sus"`

for strings `"Susie"`

, `"Susy"`

, `"Susi"`

)?

**Solution**: Again you can use the concept of generator expressions with the ternary operator.

**Related articles:**

Here’s the code for this one using the wildcard operator in a pattern to count all occurrences of this pattern in the list.

>>> import re >>> lst = ['Susi', 'Ann', 'Susanne', 'Susy'] >>> pattern = 'Sus.*' >>> frequency = sum(1 if re.match(pattern, x) else 0 for x in lst) >>> print(frequency) 3

The generator expression produces a bunch of 1s and 0s—the former if the list element starts with prefix `'Sus'`

and the latter if it doesn’t. By summing over all elements, you get the number of matches of the wildcard operator.

## Where to Go From Here?

You’ve learned how you can get the number of elements that match a certain condition. It can be a Boolean condition or even a regular expression—the framework stays the same.

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To help students reach higher levels of Python success, he founded the programming education website Finxter.com. He’s author of the popular programming book Python One-Liners (NoStarch 2020), coauthor of the Coffee Break Python series of self-published books, computer science enthusiast, freelancer, and owner of one of the top 10 largest Python blogs worldwide.

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