I am calculating the number of people within a given age range. This is my current approach.


  • The persons is a List<Person>
  • The getDiffYears() returns the number of years between now and DOB of the person. It includes the month and day as well.
  • The method will be returning a HashMap<String, Integer>() (Can be changed if there is a better alternative.)

The code has been tested and is working. I wanted to know if there is a more efficient approach without using this many if statements?

for (Person p: persons) {
 Date dob = p.getDob();
 if (dob != null) {
  years = getDiffYears(p.getDob());
  if (years < 10) {
  } else if (years < 20) {
  } else if (years < 30) {
  } else if (years < 40) {
  } else if (years < 50) {
  } else if (years < 60) {
  } else if (years < 70) {
  } else if (years < 80) {
  } else if (years < 90) {
  } else if (years < 100) {
  } else {
 } else {
map.put("00 - 09", a);
map.put("10 - 19", a);
map.put("20 - 29", b);
map.put("30 - 39", c);
map.put("40 - 49", e);
map.put("50 - 59", f);
map.put("60 - 69", g);
map.put("70 - 79", h);
map.put("80 - 89", i);
map.put("90 - 99", j);
map.put("Unknown", k);
  • \$\begingroup\$ Welcome to CR! Are you on Java 8? \$\endgroup\$
    – h.j.k.
    Commented Jan 8, 2016 at 15:15
  • \$\begingroup\$ I would argue that being over 100 is not unknown just in the category 100+. Since you're using range maybe 100-infinity (I know it's useful for you probably, I'm just pointing it out) \$\endgroup\$
    – Marc-Andre
    Commented Jan 8, 2016 at 15:19
  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ @h.j.k. Yes, I am on Java 8. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Jan 8, 2016 at 15:30
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Marc-Andre I have them in the same variable as the count won't be used for anything. It is there to simply know how many people's age were not used. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Jan 8, 2016 at 15:31
  • \$\begingroup\$ @miqdadamirali I do understand this but I just wanted to point out that classifying people over 100 in a category Unknown is not accurate since you do know their age and in which "range" they are. I suspected you did not use that "range" and why you put it in an unused category. \$\endgroup\$
    – Marc-Andre
    Commented Jan 8, 2016 at 15:42

2 Answers 2


First of all you have a typo with your values. You accidentally have a twice when putting to your map, and then you end up missing d:

map.put("00 - 09", a);
map.put("10 - 19", a);
map.put("20 - 29", b);
map.put("30 - 39", c);
map.put("40 - 49", e);

These single letter variables aren't helping you. Instead have an int array that you increment. You could then just increment by index, and since you're using a simple numerical set up, you could just use years/10 as your index.

Something like this:

int counts[] = new int[11];
if (years == null or years > 100){
} else {

ints are rounded down so if years = 19 then you get 19/10, which is 1.

You can then use these values for your mapping:

map.put("00 - 09", counts[0]);
map.put("10 - 19", counts[1]);
map.put("20 - 29", counts[2]);

I'm sure there's a way to loop over those or make the mapping more directly, but I'm not personally familiar with it.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Thank you for pointing out the mistake :). 1. The issue I run into when using the array is that I do not have the option of also storing the range the count corresponds to. 2. A number such as 15, when divided by 10. Would the result be rounded up or down? because you can't have value at index position 1.5. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Jan 8, 2016 at 15:29
  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ @miqdadamirali integers are rounded down, so even 19/10 becomes 1. Also I wasn't suggesting you just keep the array, I intended for you to then use putat the end with the array values. I'll amend both these notes. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Jan 8, 2016 at 15:31
  • \$\begingroup\$ You made a good point. I'll wait out a day and see if someone else responds. Thanks \$\endgroup\$ Commented Jan 8, 2016 at 15:38
  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ Aren't the indices 0-10 (so 11 elements?) Wouldn't [11] overflow? \$\endgroup\$ Commented Jan 8, 2016 at 16:07
  • \$\begingroup\$ @BenjaminGruenbaum You are correct, I rounded it right at first then did it wrong when figuring out what index "Unknown" should be. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Jan 8, 2016 at 16:12

Java 8 streams

Aside from the typos pointed out by @SuperBiasedMan, you can use Java 8's stream-based processing as an alternative for generating your Map result.

private static final int UPPER_LIMIT = 100;
private static final String[] KEYS = new String[]{ "00 - 09", /* ... */ "Unknown" };

private static int categorize(int year) {
    return Math.min(year, UPPER_LIMIT) / 10;

Map<String, Long> results = persons.stream()
                    .collect(Collectors.groupingBy(ageCategory -> KEYS[ageCategory],
  1. Define the UPPER_LIMIT of your age categorization and the desired category names.
  2. From a Stream of your Person objects, map() to their birthdays by calling Person::getDob as method reference.
  3. filter() null birthdays by using Objects::nonNull.
  4. map() birthdays to ages by calling your getDiffYears(Date) method. Note that if it is not a static method, the method reference then becomes this::getDiffYears.
  5. map() ages to the age category by calling categorize(int) to get the desired array indices for KEYS. If you have not realized yet, ThisClass is just a placeholder for the actual class name.
  6. collect() the age categories into the desired Map result groupingBy() our categorization and counting() the elements per category.

Other advice

  • Your method should return a Map instead of HashMap so that callers of this method only need to deal with the interface, and not the implementation.
  • You may want to consider how to handle for null inputs to getDiffYear(Date). Should it return a negative value?
  • You can also experiment with deriving the category names in a programmatic manner, instead of using literal Strings.
  • You can even think about making your age categorization depend on a configurable upper limit (100) and band (10). For example, how easy will it be to treat the upper limit as 101 (UPPER_LIMIT = 101) and a band of 11 years per category (hint: take a closer look at the suggested code...)?

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