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Get Key With Maximum Value in a Python Dictionary

In this tutorial, we will look at how to get the key with the maximum value in a Python dictionary with the help of some examples.

Key with maximum value in a python dictionary

You can use the Python built-in max() function to get the key with the maximum value in a dictionary. Pass the dictionary’s get function as an argument to the key parameter. The following is the syntax:

# key with highest value in the dictionary
max(sample_dict, key=sample_dict.get)

It returns the key which has the largest value in the dictionary.

Let’s look at an example.

We have a dictionary containing the salaries of the different employees in a company. You want to find the employee with the highest salary.

# create a dictionary
salary = {
    "Michael": 90000,
    "Jim": 75000,
    "Dwight": 80000
}
# get key with maximum value
print(max(salary, key=salary.get))

Output:

Michael

Here we find the key in the dictionary salary which has the maximum value. We find that “Michael” has the largest salary.

What would happen if there are more than one key with the maximum value? In that case, the max() function would return the first key it encounters having the maximum value.

To get all the keys with max value in a dictionary, you can use a list comprehension.

# create a dictionary
salary = {
    "Michael": 90000,
    "Jim": 75000,
    "Dwight": 80000,
    "Ryan": 90000
}
# get key with maximum value
print([key for key in salary.keys() if salary[key]==max(salary.values())])

Output:

['Michael', 'Ryan']

We get all the employees with the maximum salary.

Alternatively, you can iterate through the dictionary items in a loop and keep track of the key with the maximum value.

Let’s use the same use-case as above. Finding the maximum salary in the dictionary of names to salaries.

# create a dictionary
salary = {
    "Michael": 90000,
    "Jim": 75000,
    "Dwight": 80000
}
# get key with maximum value
max_val = None
max_val_key = None

for key, val in salary.items():
    if max_val is None:
        max_val = val
        max_val_key = key
    
    if val > max_val:
        max_val = val
        max_key = key

print(max_val_key)    

Output:

Michael

We get the same result as above. “Michael” has the highest salary in the given dictionary. Using a loop may not be the best solution here. Other methods mentioned above are also straightforward and they require fewer lines of code.

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Author

  • Piyush is a data scientist passionate about using data to understand things better and make informed decisions. In the past, he's worked as a Data Scientist for ZS and holds an engineering degree from IIT Roorkee. His hobbies include watching cricket, reading, and working on side projects.