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Get Median of a Tuple in Python

Median is a descriptive statistic. It is often used as a measure of the central tendency of a distribution. In this tutorial, we will look at how to get the median of values in a tuple in Python with the help of examples.

Median is defined as the middle value of a distribution. That is, the number of values smaller than the median is the same as the number of values larger than the median.

median of a tuple in python

For example, for the numbers 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 the median value is 3 as it lies in the middle of the distribution.

From this we can see that to calculate the median, first, sort the values and then pick the middle value. If the total number of values (N) is even, then the median is the average of the (N/2)th and the (N/2 + 1)th value.

Now that we know how to compute the median mathematically, let’s see how to do it in Python.

To get the median of a tuple in Python, you can write your own custom function or use functions defined in libraries such as statistics, numpy, etc.

Let’s write a function to compute the median.

def get_median(t):
    # sort the tuple and store the resulting list
    ls = sorted(t)
    # find the median
    if len(ls) % 2 != 0:
        # total number of values are odd
        # subtract 1 since indexing starts at 0
        m = int((len(ls)+1)/2 - 1)
        return ls[m]
    else:
        m1 = int(len(ls)/2 - 1)
        m2 = int(len(ls)/2)
        return (ls[m1]+ls[m2])/2

# create a tuple
t = (5, 2, 1, 3, 4)
# get the median
print(get_median(t))

Output:

3

Here, we use the sorted() function to get a sorted copy of the tuple elements as a list. We then proceed to compute the median from this sorted list.

You can also use off-the-shelf libraries in Python to directly compute the median. These libraries have better-optimized implementations.

You can use the median() function from the statistics standard library in Python to get the median of an iterable. Let’s look at an example.

import statistics

# create a tuple
t = (5, 2, 1, 3, 4)
# get the median
print(statistics.median(t))

Output:

3

We get the same result as above.

You can also use the numpy library’s median() function to compute the median of a tuple. Here’s an example.

import numpy as np

# create a tuple
t = (5, 2, 1, 3, 4)
# get the median
print(np.median(t))

Output:

3.0

We get the same result we got in the above examples.

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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.