Is There a Date Data Type in SQL?


Heather Bennett

When working with databases, one common question that often arises is whether there is a specific data type for dates in SQL. In this article, we will explore the options available for storing and manipulating dates in SQL databases.

The Date Data Type

SQL provides a specific data type called DATE to store dates. The DATE data type represents a date value in the format YYYY-MM-DD, where YYYY represents the four-digit year, MM represents the two-digit month, and DD represents the two-digit day.

The DATE data type allows you to perform various operations on dates such as comparison, addition, subtraction, and formatting. It is widely supported by most popular SQL database management systems like MySQL, PostgreSQL, Oracle, and SQL Server.

Date Functions

In addition to the DATE data type, SQL also provides built-in functions to manipulate date values. These functions allow you to extract specific components from a date value or perform calculations based on dates.

Example: Getting the Current Date

To retrieve the current date in SQL, you can use the CURRENT_DATE() function. This function returns the current date according to the system clock of your database server.


This query will return today’s date in the format YYYY-MM-DD.

Date Arithmetic

You can perform arithmetic operations on dates using various built-in functions provided by SQL. For example:

  • DATEDIFF(date1, date2): Returns the number of days between two dates.
  • DATE_ADD(date, INTERVAL value unit): Adds a specified value (such as days, months, or years) to a date.
  • DATE_SUB(date, INTERVAL value unit): Subtracts a specified value from a date.

These functions allow you to perform complex calculations involving dates, which can be useful for tasks like calculating the duration between two events or finding future dates based on a given date.

Date Formatting

In addition to storing and manipulating dates, SQL also allows you to format date values according to your requirements. The specific syntax for formatting dates may vary depending on the database management system you are using.

For example, in MySQL, you can use the DATE_FORMAT(date, format) function to format a date. The format parameter specifies the desired format using special placeholders like %Y for the year, %m for the month, and %d for the day.

SELECT DATE_FORMAT('2022-06-15', '%M %e, %Y');

This query will return the formatted date as “June 15, 2022”.

The DateTime Data Type

In some SQL database management systems like MySQL and PostgreSQL, there is an additional data type called DATETIME. The DATETIME data type combines both date and time values into a single field.

The syntax for storing and manipulating DATETIME values is similar to that of the DATE data type. However, it includes an additional component for representing time in hours:minutes:seconds format.


In SQL, the DATE data type provides a dedicated way to store and manipulate dates. Along with date functions and formatting options, working with dates in SQL becomes more convenient and efficient.

Whether you need to perform simple date calculations or handle complex date-related tasks, SQL offers the necessary tools to accomplish these operations.

By understanding the available data types and functions for dates in SQL, you can effectively manage and query date values in your database systems.

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