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Difference between List and Array in Python

  • Difficulty Level : Basic
  • Last Updated : 17 Jul, 2020

List: A list in Python is a collection of items which can contain elements of multiple data types, which may be either numeric, character logical values, etc. It is an ordered collection supporting negative indexing. A list can be created using [] containing data values.
Contents of lists can be easily merged and copied using python’s inbuilt functions.

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# creating a list containing elements 
# belonging to different data types
sample_list = [1,"Yash",['a','e']]
print(sample_list)

Output :

[1, 'Yash', ['a', 'e']]

The first element is an integer, the second a string and the third is an list of characters.



Array: An array is a vector containing homogeneous elements i.e. belonging to the same data type. Elements are allocated with contiguous memory locations allowing easy modification, that is, addition, deletion, accessing of elements. In Python, we have to use the array module to declare arrays. If the elements of an array belong to different data types, an exception “Incompatible data types” is thrown.




# creating an array containing same 
# data type elements 
import array
  
sample_array = array.array('i', [1, 2, 3])  
  
# accessing elements of array
for i in sample_array:
     print(i)

Output :

1
2
3

Here are the differences between List and Array in Python :

ListArray
Can consist of elements belonging to different data typesOnly consists of elements belonging to the same data type
No need to explicitly import a module for declarationNeed to explicitly import a module for declaration
Cannot directly handle arithmetic operationsCan directly handle arithmetic operations
Can be nested to contain different type of elementsMust contain either all nested elements of same size
Preferred for shorter sequence of data itemsPreferred for longer sequence of data items
Greater flexibility allows easy modification (addition, deletion) of dataLess flexibility since addition, deletion has to be done element wise
The entire list can be printed without any explicit loopingA loop has to be formed to print or access the components of array
Consume larger memory for easy addition of elementsComparatively more compact in memory size



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