MySQL Group Concat Function

The group_concat() function in MySQL is really nifty. It concatenates all rows that match your group by statement into a single, comma separated string.

Essentially, it transposes rows to columns.

Take this example. Say you have a table that stores a set of locations by country, state and city.

You could then write SQL as follows:

select 
country,
state,
group_concat(city) as cities
from locations
group by country, state

What this is saying is bring back 3 columns, country, state, and for each combination of country and state, a list of all of the cities in that country and state as the third column (called cities).

This is actually a phenomenally handy thing to be able to do and something you’ll use a lot once you know it exists!

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