Grouping Data by Date Range in PySpark

What will you learn?

In this comprehensive guide, you will delve into the world of PySpark and master the art of grouping data by date ranges. By the end of this tutorial, you will be equipped with the skills to efficiently handle time-series data using PySpark’s DataFrame API.

Introduction to the Problem and Solution

When dealing with time-series data in PySpark, it’s common to encounter scenarios where analyzing data based on specific date ranges is more valuable than looking at individual dates. Whether you’re summarizing weekly sales figures, examining monthly website traffic, or any other situation requiring insights over periods of time, grouping data by date ranges is essential.

To address this challenge effectively, we will harness the power of PySpark’s DataFrame API and leverage built-in functions for manipulating and grouping dates. Starting with preparing our dataset, we will then define custom date ranges. Subsequently, we will perform grouping operations based on these ranges and conduct necessary aggregations. This step-by-step approach will demonstrate how seamless it is to work with date range groupings in PySpark.


from pyspark.sql import SparkSession
from pyspark.sql.functions import col, from_unixtime, unix_timestamp

# Initialize a Spark session
spark = SparkSession.builder.appName("DateRangeGrouping").getOrCreate()

# Sample data creation
data = [("2023-01-01", 10), ("2023-01-15", 20), ("2023-02-01", 30)]
columns = ["date", "value"]
df = spark.createDataFrame(data=data, schema=columns)

# Convert string date to actual date type 
df = df.withColumn("date", col("date").cast("date"))

# Define the start of your custom week/month for grouping purposes (e.g., 'YYYY-MM')
month_start_expr = from_unixtime(unix_timestamp(col("date"), "yyyy-MM"), "yyyy-MM")

# Group by the defined period (in this case: monthly) and sum values
result_df = df.groupBy(month_start_expr.alias("month")).sum("value")

# Copyright PHD


The provided code snippet illustrates how you can group your dataset based on custom-defined date ranges using PySpark:

  1. Initialization: Start by creating a SparkSession as the entry point for Spark applications.
  2. Data Creation: Generate a sample dataset using spark.createDataFrame() with columns for dates and values.
  3. Date Conversion: Convert string dates to actual date types for precise manipulation.
  4. Defining Date Ranges: Extract the starting day of each month from timestamps (‘YYYY-MM’) for grouping.
  5. Grouping & Aggregation: Perform .groupBy() followed by .sum() aggregation within each identified month.

This approach facilitates flexible grouping of time-series data based on specified intervals, allowing analysis of trends over periods without being limited to standard SQL functions like MONTH().

  1. How do I install PySpark?

  2. To install PySpark via pip:

  3. pip install pyspark
  4. # Copyright PHD
  5. Can I perform weekly grouping instead of monthly?

  6. Yes! Adjust the format in unix_timestamp function to “yyyy-WW” for weekly groups.

  7. What if my dataset includes timestamps instead of dates?

  8. Convert them first using .cast(‘timestamp’) before applying similar logic as shown above.

  9. How do I filter records before grouping?

  10. Filter your DataFrame using .filter() or .where() before performing grouping operations.

  11. Can I aggregate multiple columns at once?

  12. Absolutely! Add additional aggregation functions inside .agg() after your .groupBy() operation.


Mastering the art of grouping time-series data by custom-defined date ranges in PySpark empowers you to derive detailed insights across temporal segments´┐Żan essential skill for various real-world analytical tasks. By combining DataFrame transformations with robust datetime handling features within Python/PySpark ecosystem, complex aggregations become manageable endeavors rather than formidable obstacles.

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