What Are the Data Types Allowed in a Structure?


Angela Bailey

A structure in programming is a user-defined data type that allows you to group together variables of different data types under a single name. Each variable within a structure is called a member. Structures are commonly used to represent complex entities such as a person, an employee, or a book, where each member of the structure represents a different attribute or property.

Basic Data Types

Structures in most programming languages allow members of various data types. The basic data types that can be used as members in a structure include:

  • Integer: This data type represents whole numbers, both positive and negative, without any decimal points. It is often used to store values like age, number of items, or any quantity that can be expressed without fractions.
  • Float: Float is short for floating-point number and represents real numbers with decimal points.

    It is commonly used to store values like height, weight, or any other measurement that requires precision.

  • Character: The character data type represents individual characters such as letters, digits, or symbols. It is used to store single characters like ‘a’, ‘B’, or ‘$’.
  • Boolean: Boolean data type has two possible values: true and false. It is used to represent logical conditions and control flow within programs.

Derived Data Types

In addition to the basic data types mentioned above, structures also allow the use of derived data types as members. These derived data types include:

  • Array: An array is a collection of similar elements stored in contiguous memory locations. Arrays can be of any basic or derived data type and are useful for storing a fixed number of elements.
  • Pointer: Pointers store addresses of variables or functions rather than the actual values.

    They are often used for dynamic memory allocation and efficient handling of data structures.

  • Structure: Structures can also be nested within other structures, allowing you to create more complex data types. This nesting allows for better organization and representation of real-world entities with multiple levels of attributes.

Example: Structure with Different Data Types

Let’s consider an example using C programming language:

#include <stdio.h>

struct Person {
    char name[50];
    int age;
    float height;

int main() {
    struct Person person1;

    strcpy(person1.name, "John Doe");
    person1.age = 25;
    person1.height = 1.75;

    printf("Name: %s\n", person1.name);
    printf("Age: %d\n", person1.age);
    printf("Height: %.2f meters\n", person1.height);

    return 0;

In this example, we define a structure called Person with three members: name, age, and height. The name member is an array of characters, the age member is an integer, and the height member is a float.

We create a variable named person1, which is an instance of the structure. We assign values to its members using the dot operator (.) and then print those values using the printf function.


Structures allow you to create complex data types by grouping together variables of different data types. The members of a structure can be basic data types such as integers, floats, characters, and booleans.

Derived data types such as arrays, pointers, and even other structures can also be used as members. By utilizing structures effectively, you can organize and represent real-world entities in a more meaningful way within your programs.

Now that you understand what data types are allowed in a structure, you can start incorporating structures into your programming projects to enhance their flexibility and organization.

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