# How can I force division to be floating point? Division keeps rounding down to 0?

In Python 2, division of two ints produces an int. In Python 3, it produces a float. We can get the new behaviour by importing from `__future__`

.

`>>> from __future__ import division>>> a = 4>>> b = 6>>> c = a / b>>> c0.66666666666666663`

You can cast to float by doing `c = a / float(b)`

. If the numerator or denominator is a float, then the result will be also.

A caveat: as commenters have pointed out, this won't work if `b`

might be something other than an integer or floating-point number (or a string representing one). If you might be dealing with other types (such as complex numbers) you'll need to either check for those or use a different method.

## How can I force division to be floating point in Python?

I have two integer values a and b, but I need their ratio in floating point. I know that a < b and I want to calculate a/b, so if I use integer division I'll always get 0 with a remainder of a.

How can I force c to be a floating point number in Python in the following?

`c = a / b`

What is really being asked here is:

"How do I force true division such that `a / b`

will return a fraction?"

## Upgrade to Python 3

In Python 3, to get true division, you simply do `a / b`

.

`>>> 1/20.5`

Floor division, the classic division behavior for integers, is now `a // b`

:

`>>> 1//20>>> 1//2.00.0`

However, you may be stuck using Python 2, or you may be writing code that must work in both 2 and 3.

## If Using Python 2

In Python 2, it's not so simple. Some ways of dealing with classic Python 2 division are better and more robust than others.

### Recommendation for Python 2

You can get Python 3 division behavior in any given module with the following import at the top:

`from __future__ import division`

which then applies Python 3 style division to the entire module. It also works in a python shell at any given point. In Python 2:

`>>> from __future__ import division>>> 1/20.5>>> 1//20>>> 1//2.00.0`

This is really the best solution as it ensures the code in your module is more forward compatible with Python 3.

### Other Options for Python 2

If you don't want to apply this to the entire module, you're limited to a few workarounds. The most popular is to coerce one of the operands to a float. One robust solution is `a / (b * 1.0)`

. In a fresh Python shell:

`>>> 1/(2 * 1.0)0.5`

Also robust is `truediv`

from the `operator`

module `operator.truediv(a, b)`

, but this is likely slower because it's a function call:

`>>> from operator import truediv>>> truediv(1, 2)0.5`

### Not Recommended for Python 2

Commonly seen is `a / float(b)`

. This will raise a TypeError if b is a complex number. Since division with complex numbers is defined, it makes sense to me to not have division fail when passed a complex number for the divisor.

`>>> 1 / float(2)0.5>>> 1 / float(2j)Traceback (most recent call last): File "<stdin>", line 1, in <module>TypeError: can't convert complex to float`

It doesn't make much sense to me to purposefully make your code more brittle.

You can also run Python with the `-Qnew`

flag, but this has the downside of executing all modules with the new Python 3 behavior, and some of your modules may expect classic division, so I don't recommend this except for testing. But to demonstrate:

`$ python -Qnew -c 'print 1/2'0.5$ python -Qnew -c 'print 1/2j'-0.5j`