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Finding the Most Popular Field Values

Written by Bill Graziano on 08 September 2000

Kobiashi Maru writes "Say you have a table with all the zipcodes in the United States. The fields are Zipcode, City, State Abreviation. It's pretty easy to find the Cities and States with the most zipcodes. But how would you build a query that would find the City Name that is the most "popular". For example, New York City may have the most zip codes, but not very many states have a NYC. Lots of states have a "Springfield". So which city name is most popular among the US?" Ok, I'll make you a deal. I'll provide the query but you have to report back with the answer.

I'm curious what the most popular city in the U.S. is. This is actually a fairly straight forward query. If we run it against the pubs database using the authors table it looks something like this:

SELECT TOP 5 city, Number=count(*)
FROM authors
GROUP BY city
ORDER BY Number desc


The GROUP BY is used to return a count for each value. We are sorting by that count in descending order and only returning the top 5. In pubs Oakland is the winner with 5 authors. Now tell us which city is the most popular in the U.S. And I like the handle you posted under. Clever Star Trek reference?

-graz