Efficient Group By Queries in Django: Leveraging values() and annotate()


GROUP BY in Django: Grouping and Aggregating Data

In Django, the Django ORM (Object-Relational Mapper) provides a powerful way to interact with your database. GROUP BY queries are essential for grouping data based on specific criteria and then performing aggregate functions (like counting, summing, averaging) on those groups.

Here's a breakdown of the key methods and considerations:

Using values() and annotate():

  • values(): This method specifies the fields you want to include in the results and implicitly performs a GROUP BY on those fields.
  • annotate(): This method allows you to create custom calculations or aggregations on the grouped data.


from django.db.models import Count, Sum

orders = Order.objects.values('product__category') \
                       .annotate(count=Count('id'), total_revenue=Sum('price')) \

for order in orders:
    print(order['product__category'], order['count'], order['total_revenue'])

This code groups orders by their product category, calculates the count of orders in each category, and sums the total revenue for each category.

Raw SQL (for more complex scenarios):

  • While the Django ORM is often preferred, there might be situations where you need more control over the GROUP BY clause or want to use functions not directly supported by the ORM.
  • In such cases, you can leverage raw SQL queries:
from django.db import connection

cursor = connection.cursor()
    SELECT product_category, COUNT(*) AS count, SUM(price) AS total_revenue
    FROM orders
    GROUP BY product_category
    ORDER BY product_category
results = cursor.fetchall()

# Process results as needed

Important Considerations:

  • When using values(), the fields you specify become the grouping criteria. Ensure you're grouping by the appropriate fields.
  • The ORM might generate extra database queries in some cases for grouping and aggregation. If performance is critical, consider raw SQL or database-specific optimizations.

Additional Tips:

  • For complex grouping scenarios, consider third-party libraries like django-group-by (if necessary).

By effectively using these techniques, you can create informative and efficient GROUP BY queries within your Django applications.

Example Codes for GROUP BY in Django

Count Orders by Status:

from django.db.models import Count

orders = Order.objects.values('status') \
                       .annotate(count=Count('id')) \

for order in orders:
    print(order['status'], order['count'])

This code groups orders by their status and counts the number of orders in each status category (e.g., "pending", "shipped", "cancelled").

Sum Product Prices by Year (Extracting Year from Date):

from django.db.models import Sum
from datetime import datetime

year_now = datetime.now().year  # Get current year

products = Product.objects.values('created_at__year') \
                           .annotate(total_price=Sum('price')) \
                           .filter(created_at__year=year_now) \

for product in products:
    print(product['created_at__year'], product['total_price'])

This code groups products based on the year they were created (extracted from the created_at field) and calculates the total price for products created in the current year.

Group by Multiple Fields (Category and City):

from django.db.models import Count

orders = Order.objects.values('product__category', 'customer__city') \
                       .annotate(count=Count('id')) \
                       .order_by('product__category', 'customer__city')

for order in orders:
    print(order['product__category'], order['customer__city'], order['count'])

This code groups orders by both product category and customer city, allowing you to analyze order trends based on these two factors.

Remember to replace Order, Product, etc. with your actual model names and adjust the fields as needed for your specific data.

Custom Manager with Raw SQL:

  • Create a custom manager for your model that overrides the get_queryset() method.
  • Within get_queryset(), construct a raw SQL query with your desired GROUP BY clause and aggregation functions.
from django.db import models

class OrderManager(models.Manager):

    def get_queryset(self):
        return super().get_queryset().raw("""
            SELECT product_category, COUNT(*) AS count, SUM(price) AS total_revenue
            FROM orders
            GROUP BY product_category
            ORDER BY product_category

class Order(models.Model):
    # ... your model fields
    objects = OrderManager()


  • This approach offers more control over the SQL query, but requires understanding raw SQL syntax for your database.
  • Be mindful of potential security vulnerabilities with raw SQL (ensure proper data sanitization if accepting user input in the query).
  • This can make your code less portable across different database backends.

Third-Party Libraries (Limited Use Cases):

  • There are some third-party libraries like django-group-by that provide additional functionalities for grouping and aggregation.
  • However, in most cases, the Django ORM's built-in methods (values(), annotate()) are sufficient.
  • Consider using third-party libraries only if you have very specific grouping requirements not easily achieved with the ORM.


For most scenarios, using values() and annotate() is the recommended approach for GROUP BY queries in Django due to its simplicity, maintainability, and portability. If you have very specific requirements or need finer control over the generated SQL, consider exploring custom managers with raw SQL. Use third-party libraries cautiously and only if the Django ORM's features fall short for your particular needs.

python django django-models

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