Java 8 Counting with Collectors | Collectors.counting method tutorial with examples

Java 8 Counting with Collectors tutorial explains, with examples, how to use the predefined Collector returned by java.util.Stream.Collectors class’ counting() method to count the number of elements in a Stream. The tutorial starts off with the formal definition of the Collectors.counting() method, then explains its working, and finally shows the method’s usage via a Java code example.
(Note – This tutorial assumes that you are familiar with basics of Java 8 CollectorsRead Tutorial explaining basics of Java 8 Collectors.)

Predefined Collector returned by Collectors.counting() method
Collectors.counting() method is defined with the following signature –

public static <T> Collector<T, ?, Long> counting()

     – output is a Collector, acting on a Stream of elements of type T, with its finisherClick to Read tutorial on 4 components of Collectors incl. ‘finisher’ returning the ‘collected’ value of type Long

The working of the counting collector is pretty straightforward. It is a terminal operationClick to Read Tutorial explaining intermediate & terminal Stream operations which returns the total count of elements in the stream which reach the collect() method after undergoing various pipelinedClick to Read Tutorial explaining concept of Pipelines in Computing stream operations such as filtering, reduction etc.

It’s also worthwhile to know that internally the counting collector actually delegates the counting job to the ‘reducing collector’ with the call reducing(0L, e -> 1L, Long::sum). But this call is internal to the implementation and need not be taken into consideration before terminating your stream with the counting Collector.

Java 8 code example showing Collector.counting() method’s usage

Java 8 code example showing Collectors.counting() usage
package com.javabrahman.java8.collector;
import com.javabrahman.java8.Employee;
import java.util.Arrays;
import java.util.List;
public class CountingWithCollectors {
  static List<Employee> employeeList = Arrays.asList(new Employee("Tom Jones", 45),
      new Employee("Harry Major", 25),
      new Employee("Ethan Hardy", 65),
      new Employee("Nancy Smith", 22),
      new Employee("Deborah Sprightly", 29));

  public static void main(String args[]){
    System.out.println("Employee count: "+count);
// Class)
package com.javabrahman.java8;
public class Employee {
  private String name;
  private Integer age;

  public Employee(String name, Integer age) { = name;
    this.age = age;

  //Getters and Setters of name & age go here
  public String toString(){
    return "Employee Name:"
        +"  Age:"+this.age;
  //Standard equals() and hashcode() implementations go here
 OUTPUT of the above code
Employee count: 5
Explanation of the code

  • is the POJO class i.e. the type of which the Stream is created.
  • CountingWithCollectors class contains a static list of 5 Employee objects named employeeList.
  • In the main() method of CountingWithCollectors class a stream of Employee objects is created by invoking This stream is then terminated by invoking the collect() method with the Collector returned by the Collectors.counting() method passed as a parameter.
  • As expected, the Stream terminates and the counting Collector returns the count of the stream elements(employees) as a Long value.
  • Lastly, the employee count is printed and is 5 as expected.

In this tutorial we understood the working of the predefined Collector returned by the Collectors.counting() method. We looked at the formal definition of the Collectors.counting() method, had a brief look at what actually happens inside the method, and finally saw the Collectors.counting() method in action with a Java 8 code example and its explanation.


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