How to count rows with SELECT COUNT(*) with SQLAlchemy?

I’d like to know if it’s possible to generate a SELECT COUNT(*) FROM TABLE statement in SQLAlchemy without explicitly asking for it with execute(). If I use:


then it generates something like:

SELECT count(*) AS count_1 FROM
    (SELECT table.col1 as col1, table.col2 as col2, ... from table)

which is significantly slower in MySQL with InnoDB. I am looking for a solution that doesn’t require the table to have a known primary key, as suggested in Get the number of rows in table using SQLAlchemy.


I managed to render the following SELECT with SQLAlchemy on both layers.

SELECT count(*) AS count_1
FROM "table"

Usage from the SQL Expression layer

from sqlalchemy import select, func, Integer, Table, Column, MetaData

metadata = MetaData()

table = Table("table", metadata,
              Column('primary_key', Integer),
              Column('other_column', Integer)  # just to illustrate

print select([func.count()]).select_from(table)

Usage from the ORM layer

You just subclass Query (you have probably anyway) and provide a specialized count() method, like this one.

from sqlalchemy.sql.expression import func

class BaseQuery(Query):
    def count_star(self):
        count_query = (self.statement.with_only_columns([func.count()])
        return self.session.execute(count_query).scalar()

Please note that order_by(None) resets the ordering of the query, which is irrelevant to the counting.

Using this method you can have a count(*) on any ORM Query, that will honor all the filter andjoin conditions already specified.

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