# What Data Type Is a Number in SQL?

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Larry Thompson

When working with SQL, it is important to understand the different data types and how they are used. One common data type that you will encounter is the number data type. In SQL, a number can be represented by several different data types, each with its own characteristics and uses.

## Numeric Data Types

SQL provides several numeric data types that can be used to store numbers. The most commonly used numeric data types are:

• INT: This data type is used to store whole numbers (integers) between -2147483648 and 2147483647.
• FLOAT: This data type is used to store floating-point numbers, which can represent a wider range of values than the INT data type.
• DECIMAL: This data type is used to store fixed-point numbers with precision and scale.

The choice of numeric data type depends on the nature of the numbers you need to store. If you only need to store whole numbers without any decimal places, INT would be the appropriate choice. If you need to store numbers with decimal places or a wider range of values, FLOAT or DECIMAL would be more suitable.

## Data Type Conversion

In SQL, you can perform operations on numbers of different data types. However, it is important to understand how implicit and explicit conversions work when dealing with different numeric data types.

Implicit Conversions:

If you try to perform an operation on two numbers of different data types, SQL will automatically convert one of the numbers into the same data type as the other before performing the operation. For example, if you try to add an INT and a FLOAT together, SQL will convert the INT into a FLOAT before performing the addition.

Explicit Conversions:

Sometimes, you may need to explicitly convert a number from one data type to another. SQL provides several functions that can be used for explicit conversions, such as CAST and CONVERT. These functions allow you to specify the Target data type and convert the number accordingly.

## Summary

In SQL, the number data type is used to store numeric values. The choice of numeric data type depends on the nature of the numbers you need to store. SQL provides several numeric data types such as INT, FLOAT, and DECIMAL that can be used for different purposes.

When working with different numeric data types, it is important to understand how implicit and explicit conversions work. Implicit conversions are performed automatically by SQL when necessary, while explicit conversions require you to use functions like CAST or CONVERT.

By understanding the different numeric data types in SQL and how they are used, you can ensure that your database design accurately represents the numbers you need to store and perform operations on them efficiently.