What Is a Data Type in Python?


Heather Bennett

A data type is a classification of the type of data that a variable or object can hold in a programming language. In Python, data types are used to define the kind of value that a variable can store. It helps Python to understand what type of operations can be performed on a given set of values.

Python Built-in Data Types

Python provides several built-in data types that are commonly used in programming:

  • Numbers: Python supports various types of numbers including integers, floating-point numbers, and complex numbers.
  • Strings: Strings are sequences of characters enclosed within single quotes (”) or double quotes (“”). They are used to represent text.
  • Lists: Lists are ordered collections of items enclosed within square brackets ([]). They can contain elements of different data types and can be modified.
  • Tuples: Tuples are similar to lists but are immutable, meaning their elements cannot be modified once defined. They are enclosed within parentheses (()).
  • Dictionaries: Dictionaries are key-value pairs enclosed within curly braces ({}).

    They allow you to store and retrieve values based on unique keys.

  • Sets: Sets are unordered collections of unique elements enclosed within curly braces ({}). They do not allow duplicate values.
  • Booleans: Booleans represent the truth values True and False. They are often used in conditional statements and logical operations.

Data Type Conversion

In Python, you can convert one data type to another using built-in functions like str(), int(), float(), etc. This process is known as type conversion or typecasting.

For example, to convert a number to a string, you can use the str() function:

num = 42
num_as_string = str(num)

You can also convert a string to an integer using the int() function:

num_as_string = "42"
num = int(num_as_string)

Checking Data Types

To check the data type of a value or variable in Python, you can use the type() function. It returns the specific data type of an object.

name = "John Doe"
age = 25

print(type(name))  # <class 'str'>
print(type(age))   # <class 'int'>


In Python, data types are essential for defining variables and objects. They help in performing appropriate operations and ensure data integrity. Understanding different data types and their characteristics is crucial for writing reliable and efficient Python programs.

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