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How to add column in Pandas

Understanding DataFrames in Pandas

When you're learning programming, especially data analysis with Python, one of the most powerful tools at your disposal is the Pandas library. Think of Pandas as a magical toolbox that can help you manipulate data in almost any way you can imagine. One of the most common structures you'll work with in Pandas is the DataFrame. A DataFrame is like a big table full of data, similar to a sheet in Excel. It has rows and columns where the rows represent individual records (like different people in a survey) and the columns represent different attributes or features of those records (like age, height, etc.).

Adding a New Column to a DataFrame

Sometimes, you might want to add new information to your data. For instance, let's say you're analyzing a dataset of fruits and you have their prices and weights, but you also want to add a column that shows the price per kilogram. This is where adding a column comes in handy.

Using the Assignment Operator

The simplest way to add a new column is by using the assignment operator =. It's like telling Python, "Hey, I want this new piece of data to be part of my table!" Here's a basic example:

import pandas as pd

# Create a simple DataFrame
df = pd.DataFrame({
    'Fruit': ['Apple', 'Banana', 'Cherry'],
    'Price': [1.2, 0.5, 2.0]

# Add a new column called 'Quantity'
df['Quantity'] = [10, 20, 15]


This code will output a DataFrame with a new column named 'Quantity':

    Fruit  Price  Quantity
0   Apple    1.2        10
1  Banana    0.5        20
2  Cherry    2.0        15

Using the assign() Method

Another way to add a column is with the assign() method. This method is like a polite way of adding a column, where you ask the DataFrame to include your new data. Here's how you can use it:

# Add a new column using assign
df = df.assign(Tax_Price=lambda x: x['Price'] * 1.1)


This will add a new column called 'Tax_Price' that's 10% higher than the 'Price' column:

    Fruit  Price  Quantity  Tax_Price
0   Apple    1.2        10       1.32
1  Banana    0.5        20       0.55
2  Cherry    2.0        15       2.20

The lambda here is like a mini-function that's saying, "For each price, multiply it by 1.1 to get the tax price."

Adding Columns Based on Conditions

Let's say you want to categorize your fruits based on their price: 'Cheap' if the price is less than 1, 'Moderate' if the price is between 1 and 2, and 'Expensive' if the price is more than 2. You can do that with the method from NumPy, another library that works well with Pandas.

import numpy as np

# Conditions for the categories
conditions = [
    (df['Price'] < 1),
    (df['Price'] >= 1) & (df['Price'] <= 2),
    (df['Price'] > 2)

# Category labels
labels = ['Cheap', 'Moderate', 'Expensive']

# Create a new column with
df['Category'] =, labels)


Now, you have a new column that categorizes the fruits:

    Fruit  Price  Quantity  Tax_Price  Category
0   Apple    1.2        10       1.32  Moderate
1  Banana    0.5        20       0.55     Cheap
2  Cherry    2.0        15       2.20  Moderate

Adding a Column with a Default Value

Sometimes you want to start with a default value for your new column, like setting all quantities to zero before counting. You can do this easily in Pandas:

# Add a new column with a default value
df['Sold'] = 0


And just like that, every fruit now has a 'Sold' value of 0:

    Fruit  Price  Quantity  Tax_Price  Category  Sold
0   Apple    1.2        10       1.32  Moderate     0
1  Banana    0.5        20       0.55     Cheap     0
2  Cherry    2.0        15       2.20  Moderate     0

Using Functions to Add Columns

What if you want to add a column that's a little more complex? You can define a function and then apply it to your DataFrame. Suppose you want to add a column that gives a discount based on the quantity: the more you buy, the bigger the discount.

# Define a function for the discount
def calculate_discount(quantity):
    if quantity >= 20:
        return 0.1  # 10% discount
    elif quantity >= 10:
        return 0.05  # 5% discount
        return 0  # no discount

# Apply the function to the Quantity column
df['Discount'] = df['Quantity'].apply(calculate_discount)


Now, your DataFrame also includes a 'Discount' column:

    Fruit  Price  Quantity  Tax_Price  Category  Sold  Discount
0   Apple    1.2        10       1.32  Moderate     0      0.05
1  Banana    0.5        20       0.55     Cheap     0      0.10
2  Cherry    2.0        15       2.20  Moderate     0      0.05

Intuition and Analogies

Adding a column in Pandas is like decorating a cake. You start with a plain cake (your DataFrame) and decide to add some sprinkles (a new column). You can choose the color and the amount of sprinkles just like you decide the name and the data of your new column. The assignment operator = is like sprinkling directly onto the cake, while the assign() method is like carefully placing each sprinkle with tweezers. Using conditions and functions to add columns is like creating a custom sprinkle mix for different parts of the cake, ensuring each slice is perfect for the person who's going to eat it.


In the world of data analysis, being able to add and manipulate columns in your dataset is as essential as a chef knowing how to mix ingredients. With Pandas, you have the flexibility to not only add simple columns but also to create complex ones based on conditions and custom functions. You've seen how to add columns using direct assignment, the assign() method, based on conditions with, with default values, and by applying functions.

Remember, your DataFrame is like a canvas, and you're the artist. Each column you add is a stroke of your brush, turning raw data into a masterpiece of insights. So go ahead, play around with your DataFrames, and watch your data tell stories that were hidden before. With each new column, you're one step closer to uncovering the full picture, making sense of the numbers, and crafting data-driven decisions that can change the course of your work, project, or even your career. Keep experimenting, keep learning, and let the power of Pandas propel your programming journey forward.