Count Missing Values in SAS (with Examples)

Deepanshu Bhalla Add Comment

This tutorial explains how to count the number of missing values for each variable in SAS, along with examples.

Create a Sample Dataset

The following SAS program creates a dataset which will be used to explain examples in this tutorial.

DATA mydata;
    INPUT ID $ Name $ Gender $ Age Height Weight;
    001 John M 25 180 .
    002 . F 30 170 70
    003 Mary F . 160 60
    004 James M 35 . 80
    005 Emma . 40 155 .

Count Missing Values of Numeric Columns

In PROC MEANS, the NMISS counts missing values and N option counts non-missing values for each numeric variable in a SAS dataset. In the example below, we have a dataset named "mydata".

proc means data=mydata NMISS N;
Count Missing Values of Numeric Columns in SAS

To calculate the number of missing values for specific numeric variables, you can define them in the VAR statement.

proc means data=mydata NMISS N;
var Height Weight;

If you have a grouping (categorical) variable which contains missing values and you want to include them in the summary table, you can use the MISSING option within the PROC MEANS procedure.

Proc Means data = mydata N NMISS MISSING;
Class Gender;
Var Height Weight;

As you can see in the table above, the variable "gender" has one missing value.

Count Missing Values of Character Columns

In PROC SQL, the NMISS function returns the number of missing values for both character and numeric variables.

proc sql; 
select  nmiss(gender) as n_missing_gender, 
		nmiss(name) as n_missing_name, 
		nmiss(weight) as n_missing_weight 
from mydata; 

Count Missing Values of All Variables in a Dataset

We can specify format to label missing and non-missing values in a table and then we can use it in the PROC FREQ procedure to print the number of missing and non-missing values for each variable in a dataset.

proc format;
 value $missfmt ' '='Missing' other='Non-Missing';
 value  missfmt  . ='Missing' other='Non-Missing';
proc freq data=mydata; 
format _CHAR_ $missfmt.;
tables _CHAR_ / missing missprint nocum nopercent;
format _NUMERIC_ missfmt.;
tables _NUMERIC_ / missing missprint nocum nopercent;

The keyword _CHAR_ denotes all the character variables and _NUMERIC_ denotes all the numeric variables.

SAS : Count Missing Values of Both Character and Numeric Columns

How to Save Count of Missing Values in a Dataset

You can use the ods output statement with stackods option within PROC MEANS to store the count of missing values into a SAS dataset. The code below saves the result into a new dataset named "newData".

proc means data=mydata NMISS N stackods;
ods output summary=newData;

SAS Macro : Count of Missing Values in a Dataset

The following macro returns the number of missing values for each variable in a SAS dataset and stores the output in a new dataset named "missingData".

%macro missing_vars(dataset);
    /* Get the variable names */
    proc contents data=&dataset out=contents(keep=name) noprint;

    /* Create macro variables for each variable name */
    data _null_;
        set contents end=last;
        call symputx(cats('var', _n_), name);
        if last then call symputx('nvars', _n_);

    /* Generate the PROC SQL code */
    proc sql noprint;
        select catx(' ', 'nmiss(', name, ') as', cat('nmiss_', name))
            into :counts separated by ','
        from contents;

    proc sql;
        create table missingData as
        select &counts
        from &dataset;
%mend missing_vars;


This code first gets the variable names from the dataset using PROC CONTENTS then creates a macro variable for each variable name. It then generates the PROC SQL code to calculate the count for each variable and finally runs the PROC SQL code.

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About Author:
Deepanshu Bhalla

Deepanshu founded ListenData with a simple objective - Make analytics easy to understand and follow. He has over 10 years of experience in data science. During his tenure, he worked with global clients in various domains like Banking, Insurance, Private Equity, Telecom and HR.

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