Descriptive Analytics

Data Profiling in Python

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With every data analytics and data science project, one of the first tasks to that everyone needs to do is to profile the data sets. Data profiling allows you to get an initial picture of the data set, see data distributions and relationships. Additionally it allows us to see what kind of data cleaning and data transformations are necessary.

Most data analytics tools and languages have some functionality available to help you. Particular the various data science/machine learning products have this functionality built-in them and can do a lot of the data profiling automatically for you. But if you don’t use these tools/products, then you are probably using R and/or Python to profile your data.

With Python you will be working with the data set loaded into a Pandas data frame. From there you will be using various statistical functions and graphing functions (and libraries) to create a data profile. From there you will probably create a data profile report.

But one of the challenges with doing this in Python is having different coding for handling numeric and character based attributes/features. The describe function in Python (similar to the summary function in R) gives some statistical summaries for numeric attributes/features. A different set of functions are needed for character based attributes. The Python Library repository ( contains over 200K projects. But which ones are really useful and will help with your data science projects. Especially with new projects and libraries being released on a continual basis? This is a major challenge to know what is new and useful.

For example the followings shows loading the titanic data set into a Pandas data frame, creating a subset and using the describe function in Python.

import pandas as pd

df = pd.read_csv("/Users/brendan.tierney/Dropbox/4-Datasets/titanic/train.csv")


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df2 = df.iloc[:,[1,2,4,5,6,7,8,10,11]]

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You will notice the describe function has only looked at the numeric attributes.

One of those 200+k Python libraries is one called pandas_profiling. This will create a data audit report for both numeric and character based attributes. This most be good, Right?  Let’s take a look at what it does.

For each column the following statistics – if relevant for the column type – are presented in an interactive HTML report:

  • Essentials: type, unique values, missing values
  • Quantile statistics like minimum value, Q1, median, Q3, maximum, range, interquartile range
  • Descriptive statistics like mean, mode, standard deviation, sum, median absolute deviation, coefficient of variation, kurtosis, skewness
  • Most frequent values
  • Histogram
  • Correlations highlighting of highly correlated variables, Spearman, Pearson and Kendall matrices
  • Missing values matrix, count, heatmap and dendrogram of missing values

The first step is to install the pandas_profiling library.

pip3 install pandas_profiling

Now run the pandas_profiling report for same data frame created and used, see above.

import pandas_profiling as pp


The following images show screen shots of each part of the report. Click and zoom into these to see more details.

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