[Fixed] Valueerror: cannot convert non-finite values (na or inf) to integer

posted 8 min read

This error commonly arises when working with data, particularly in data processing tasks. For instance, you might encounter this error when trying to convert values in a list to integers, and some of those values are 'na' or 'inf'. The error code is as followed:

pandas.errors.IntCastingNaNError: Cannot convert non-finite values (NA or inf) to integer

The error message is as shown:

In this article, you'll learn you how to program in Python by focusing on a common error message: "ValueError: cannot convert non-finite values (na or inf) to integer". We'll figure out what it implies, why it occurs, and how to fix it..

What is ValueError?

It is a type error, indicating that you are attempting to use the 'int()' function incorrectly. This issue happens in Python when you attempt to use the 'int()' function to convert non-finite values, such as 'na' (representing missing data) or 'inf' (infinity), into integers.

To fix the issue, find the non-finite values in your data and manage them properly before attempting to convert them to integers.

What Causes this Error to Occur?

The error happens because Python's 'int()' function cannot handle non-finite values like 'na' or 'inf'. Let's take a look at the cause of this issue:

A. Inappropriate Use of 'int()' Function

The cause of this error is the incorrect use of 'int' function in python :

import pandas as pd
data = pd.Series ([42,None,18,None,7])
data.astype(int)
print(data)

This is how the error is shown:

In this example, we have created a Pandas Series using numbers and a None value (which symbolises NA). When we try to convert this 'Series' to integers with '.astype(int)', we get a "ValueError: cannot convert non-finite values (NA or inf) to integer" error because integers cannot represent NA or infinity.

FAQ Q:What are some common non-finite values?
A: Common non-finite values include 'na', 'NaN' (Not-a-Number), and 'inf' (infinity).

What Measures Can be Taken to Fix the Error?

We can use following solution method to solve the "ValueError".

1. Handling Non-Finite Values

Step 1: Check for non-finite values

def is_non_finite(value):
    return value == 'na' or value == 'inf'
data = ['42', 'na', '18', 'inf', '7']
non_finite_values = [value for value in data if is_non_finite(value)]

This step involves creating a function is_non_finite() to identify non-finite values in your data. The list comprehension then filters out these values.

Step 2: Handling non-finite values

data_example = ['42', 'na', '18', 'inf', '7']
for value in data_example:
    if value == 'na' or value == 'inf':
        print(f"Skipping non-finite value: {value}")
    else:
        converted_value_result = int(value)
        print(converted_value_result)

Output:

Tip: By checking for non-finite numbers ahead of time, we can avoid attempting to convert them to integers and so avoid the ValueError.

2. Using Pandas' 'pd.to_numeric()'

Another method is to solve the error is to use 'pd.to_numeric()' . It ensures the dataframe contains only numeric data.

import pandas as pd
data = pd.DataFrame({'values': ['42', 'na', '18', 'inf', '7']})
data['int_values'] = pd.to_numeric(data['values'], errors='coerce')
print(data)

Output:

We use pandas' 'pd.to_numeric()' method with the 'errors='coerce'' argument in this solution. Non-convertible values are converted to NaN, guaranteeing that the DataFrame includes only numeric data.

3. Using 'fillna()' function

You can also replace NAN values with 0 to resolve the ValueError.

import pandas
# import numpy
import numpy
# create a dataframe
data = pandas.Series([ 42, numpy.nan, 18 ,numpy.nan , 7 ])
# replace NaN values with 0
data = data.fillna(0)
# displaying
print(data)

Output:

In this example the Pandas library is used to generate a 'Series' called data that contains numeric numbers and missing values (NaN). The  'fillna()' function is then used to replace the missing values with 0. Finally, you display the modified data Series, which now has all values as numbers or 0 and efficiently handles missing data..

4. Nullable Integer data type

It allows you to work with integer columns in DataFrames while accommodating the possibility of missing data. The code is as followed:

import pandas as pd
# Creating a DataFrame with integers and NaN values
data = pd.DataFrame({
    'values': [42, None, 18, None, 7]
})
# Assigning the 'Int64' data type to a new column 'int_values'
data['int_values'] = data['values'].astype('Int64')
# Display the DataFrame
print(data)

Output:

As shown in the output, the 'int_values' column uses the 'Int64' data type to represent both integers and missing values as ''. The 'int_values' column, as seen in the output, employs the 'Int64' data type to represent both integers and missing values as ''. This is especially helpful when working with real-world data with missing values, as it keeps your data's integrity while executing various operations.

FAQ Q:Is there a more efficient way to handle non-finite values in Python?
A: Depending on the context, you can use libraries like NumPy or Pandas for more efficient and robust handling of non-finite values in data.

Wrapping Up

In conclusion, the "ValueError: cannot convert non-finite values (na or inf) to integer" error can be resolved by carefully validating and handling data, choosing appropriate conversion functions, and employing custom error-handling techniques. By following these best practices, you can prevent this error from occurring in your Python code.

  1. Use Pandas' methods like 'isna()', 'fillna()', or 'dropna()' to handle missing data effectively rather than removing it entirely.
  2. Document your data processing procedures thoroughly, especially when dealing with data that contains non-finite numbers. This aids others in understanding and maintaining your code.
  3. Leverage Pandas' built-in functions and methods whenever possible. They are optimized for performance and often more efficient than custom functions.

References

Here are some reference links related to the error:

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