Is There a Boolean Data Type in SQL Server?


Heather Bennett

Is There a Boolean Data Type in SQL Server?

One common question that often arises when working with SQL Server is whether it has a built-in boolean data type. Unlike some other programming languages and database systems, SQL Server does not have a dedicated boolean data type. However, there are alternative ways to achieve similar functionality.

The Bit Data Type

In SQL Server, the closest equivalent to a boolean data type is the bit data type. The bit data type can hold one of two values: 0 or 1. It represents a binary value where 0 typically stands for false and 1 represents true.

To define a column with a bit data type in SQL Server, you can use the following syntax:

    ColumnName BIT

You can also add constraints to limit the column’s value to either 0 or 1:

    ColumnName BIT CONSTRAINT CK_ColumnName CHECK (ColumnName IN (0, 1))

Using Bit for Boolean Operations

The bit data type is commonly used for boolean operations in SQL Server. You can perform logical operations with bit values using operators such as AND, OR, and NOT.

For example, let’s say you have two columns, IsEnabled and IsDeleted, both defined as bit types:

    IsEnabled BIT,
    IsDeleted BIT

You can use these columns to filter rows in your queries based on their boolean values:

FROM Users
WHERE IsEnabled = 1 AND IsDeleted = 0;

This query will retrieve the UserIds of users who are enabled but not deleted.

Alternative Approaches

If you prefer a more intuitive representation of boolean values, you can use other data types such as CHAR or VARCHAR to store ‘true’ and ‘false’ strings. However, it’s important to note that this approach requires additional effort to ensure consistency and avoid potential data entry errors.

An alternative approach is to use tinyint instead of bit. Although tinyint is an integer data type, you can enforce constraints to limit its value to either 0 or 1. This way, you can still achieve similar functionality with a more descriptive column name.


In SQL Server, while there isn’t a dedicated boolean data type like in some other programming languages, the bit data type serves as the closest equivalent. By using bit columns and performing logical operations, you can effectively work with boolean values in your SQL queries. Alternatively, you can explore other data types or constraints depending on your specific needs.

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