TypeError: cannot unpack non-iterable int object

Often when working on a data analytics project it requires you to split data out into its constituent parts.

There are a number of reasons for this, it can be confusing when you get errors as with the title of this post.

Before we explain this error and what it means, lets us first explain unpacking

Unpacking basically means splitting something up into a number of its parts that make it up.

To demonstrate if you take a,b,c = 123, and look to unpack it, it throws out the error, but why?

Well pure and simple, we have three values on the left “a,b,c”, looking for three values on the right.

a,b,c = 123
print(a)

Output:
 a,b,c = 123
TypeError: cannot unpack non-iterable int object

If you would like to fix this problem change the right hand side to have three values.

a,b,c = 1,2,3
print(a)
print(b)
print(c)
print(a,b,c)

Output:
1
2
3
1 2 3

Process finished with exit code 0

In essence, what is going on is that an evaluation checking that both sides have the same amount of values.

It is important to remember, the code above we used to show the error is an integer, which cannot be unpacked.

So if you take 123 for an example, which we used here it cannot be split into say 100 and 10 and 13.

In this case, even though when they are added up to 123, integers cannot be unpacked.

For this reason in the code for our solution, the difference is that the values used are tuples as follows:

a,b,c = 1,2,3
print(a)
print(b)
print(c)
print(a,b,c)
print(type((a,b,c)))

Or 
a,b,c = (1,2,3)
print(a)
print(b)
print(c)
print(a,b,c)
print(type((a,b,c)))

yield the same result:

1
2
3
1 2 3
<class 'tuple'>

Process finished with exit code 0

So in summary:

When unpacking there are a number of things to remember:

  • Integers on their own cannot be unpacked.
  • You need to make sure that if you have a number of variables, that you have the same number of integers if they the values.
    • This will make it a tuple and unpacking can then happen.

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