Concatenate rows (group concatenation) in MySQL, Hive, SQL Server and Oracle

The CONCAT() function joins the input strings or different column values and returns as a single string. However, if we need to concatenate rows of strings (rows from the same column) into a single string with a desired separator, this will not work.

There comes a function that fulfills this requirement and this function known with different names in various RDBMS and Big Data Technologies like Hive.

MySQL & Impala:
GROUP_CONCAT() is a function which merges the data from multiple rows into one field. It is a GROUP BY function which returns a string. Comma (,) will be used to separate the values in the string.

SELECT StudentName,GROUP_CONCAT(Subjects)
FROM tbStudentInfo
GROUP BY StudentName;

Hive doesn’t have the same functionality like in MySQL however there are two functions collect_set() and CONCAT_WS() to be used to get the desired output.

Separator has to be specified explicitly.

SELECT StudentName,CONCAT_WS(‘,’, collect_set(Subjects)) as Group_Concat
FROM tbStudentInfo
GROUP BY StudentName;

SQL Server:
STRING_AGG() is the function which is introduced in SQL Server 2017 which is equivalent to MySQL’s GROUP_CONCAT function. There is a workaround to achieve group concatenation using STUFFF() along with FOR XML and PATH() functions if you are using older versions.

SQL Server 2017: Example:
SELECT  StudentName,
              STRING_AGG(Subjects,’;’) Subjects
FROM tbStudentInfo

Prior to SQL 2017: Example:
              STUFF((SELECT ‘,’+ a.Subjects FROM tbStudentsInfo a
WHERE a.StudentName = b.StudentName
FOR XML PATH(”)),1,1,”) AS Subjects
              FROM tbStudentsInfo b

Oracle 11g:
LISTAGG orders data within each group specified in the ORDER BY clause for a specified measure, and then concatenates the values of the measure column.

    LISTAGG(Subjects, ‘, ‘) WITHIN GROUP (ORDER BY Subjects) “Subjeccts”
FROM tbStudentInfo
GROUP BY StudentName




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