Data Type Validation

The core utility of pandera is that it allows you to validate the types of incoming raw data so that your data pipeline can fail early and not propagate data corruption downstream to critical applications. These applications may include analytics, statistical, and machine learning use cases that rely on clean data for them to be valid.

How can I specify data types?

With pandera schemas, there are multiple ways of specifying the data types of columns, indexes, or even whole dataframes.

import pandera as pa
import pandas as pd

# schema with datatypes at the column and index level
schema_field_dtypes = pa.DataFrameSchema(
        "column1": pa.Column(int),
        "column2": pa.Column(float),
        "column3": pa.Column(str),
    index = pa.Index(int),

# schema with datatypes at the dataframe level, if all columns are the
# same data type
schema_df_dtypes = pa.DataFrameSchema(dtype=int)

The equivalent DataFrameModel would be:

from pandera.typing import Series, Index

class ModelFieldDtypes(pa.DataFrameModel):
    column1: Series[int]
    column2: Series[float]
    column3: Series[str]
    index: Index[int]

class ModelDFDtypes(pa.DataFrameModel):
    class Config:
        dtype = int

Supported pandas datatypes

By default, pandera supports the validation of pandas dataframes, so pandera schemas support any of the data types that pandas supports:

  • Built-in python types, e.g. int, float, str, bool, etc.

  • Numpy data types, e.g. numpy.int_, numpy.bool__, etc.

  • Pandas-native data types, e.g. pd.StringDtype, pd.BooleanDtype, pd.DatetimeTZDtype, etc.

  • Any of the string aliases supported by pandas.

We recommend using the built-in python datatypes for the common data types, but it’s really up to you to figure out how you want to express these types. Additionally, you can use also the pandera-defined datatypes if you want.

For example, the following schema expresses the equivalent integer types in six different ways:

import numpy as np

integer_schema = pa.DataFrameSchema(
        "builtin_python": pa.Column(int),
        "builtin_python": pa.Column("int"),
        "string_alias": pa.Column("int64"),
        "numpy_dtype": pa.Column(np.int64),
        "pandera_dtype": pa.Column(pa.Int),
        "pandera_dtype": pa.Column(pa.Int64),


The default int type for Windows is 32-bit integers int32.

Parameterized data types

One thing to be aware of is the difference between declaring pure Python types (i.e. classes) as the data type of a column vs parameterized types, which in the case of pandas, are actually instances of special classes defined by pandas. For example, using the object-based API, we can easily define a column as a timezone-aware datatype:

datetimeschema = pa.DataFrameSchema({
    "dt": pa.Column(pd.DatetimeTZDtype(unit="ns", tz="UTC"))

However, since python’s type annotations require types and not objects, to express this same type with the class-based API, we need to use an Annotated type:

    from typing import Annotated  # python 3.9+
except ImportError:
    from typing_extensions import Annotated

class DateTimeModel(pa.DataFrameModel):
    dt: Series[Annotated[pd.DatetimeTZDtype, "ns", "UTC"]]

Or alternatively, you can pass in the dtype_kwargs into Field():

class DateTimeModel(pa.DataFrameModel):
    dt: Series[pd.DatetimeTZDtype] = pa.Field(dtype_kwargs={"unit": "ns", "tz": "UTC"})

You can read more about the supported parameterized data types here.

Data type coercion

Pandera is primarily a validation library: it only checks the schema metadata or data values of the dataframe without changing anything about the dataframe itself.

However, in many cases its useful to parse, i.e. transform the data values to the data contract specified in the pandera schema. Currently, the only transformation pandera does is type coercion, which can be done by passing in the coerce=True argument to the schema or schema component objects:

If this argument is provided, instead of simply checking the columns/index(es) for the correct types, calling schema.validate will attempt to coerce the incoming dataframe values into the specified data types.

It will then apply the dataframe-, column-, and index-level checks to the data, all of which are purely validators.

How data types interact with nullable

The nullable argument, which can be specified at the column-, index, or SeriesSchema-level, is essentially a core pandera check. As such, it is applied after the data type check/coercion step described in the previous section. Therefore, datatypes that are inherently not nullable will fail even if you specify nullable=True because pandera considers type checks a first-class check that’s distinct from any downstream check that you may want to apply to the data.

Support for the python typing module

new in 0.15.0

Pandera also supports a limited set of generic and special types in the typing module for you to validate columns containing object values:

  • typing.Dict[K, V]

  • typing.List[T]

  • typing.Tuple[T, ...]

  • typing.TypedDict

  • typing.NamedTuple


Under the hood, pandera uses typeguard to validate these generic types. If you have typeguard >= 3.0.0 installed, pandera will use typeguard.CollectionCheckStrategy to validate all the items in the data value, otherwise it will only check the first item.

For example:

import sys
from typing import Dict, List, Tuple, NamedTuple

if sys.version_info >= (3, 12):
    from typing import TypedDict
    # use typing_extensions.TypedDict for python < 3.9 in order to support
    # run-time availability of optional/required fields
    from typing_extensions import TypedDict

class PointDict(TypedDict):
    x: float
    y: float

class PointTuple(NamedTuple):
    x: float
    y: float

schema = pa.DataFrameSchema(
        "dict_column": pa.Column(Dict[str, int]),
        "list_column": pa.Column(List[float]),
        "tuple_column": pa.Column(Tuple[int, str, float]),
        "typeddict_column": pa.Column(PointDict),
        "namedtuple_column": pa.Column(PointTuple),

data = pd.DataFrame({
    "dict_column": [{"foo": 1, "bar": 2}],
    "list_column": [[1.0]],
    "tuple_column": [(1, "bar", 1.0)],
    "typeddict_column": [PointDict(x=2.1, y=4.8)],
    "namedtuple_column": [PointTuple(x=9.2, y=1.6)],

dict_column list_column tuple_column typeddict_column namedtuple_column
0 {'foo': 1, 'bar': 2} [1.0] (1, bar, 1.0) {'x': 2.1, 'y': 4.8} (9.2, 1.6)

Pandera uses typeguard for data type validation and pydantic for data value coercion, in the case that you’ve specified coerce=True at the column-, index-, or dataframe-level.


For certain types like List[T], typeguard will only check the type of the first value, e.g. if you specify List[int], a data value of [1, "foo", 1.0] will still pass. Checking all values will be configurable in future versions of pandera when typeguard > 4.*.* is supported.