What Is an Aggregated Data Type?


Heather Bennett

An aggregated data type, also known as a composite or structured data type, is a fundamental concept in programming. It allows us to combine multiple data elements into a single unit.

Why do we need aggregated data types?

Aggregated data types are essential for organizing and manipulating complex sets of related data. They enable us to group together different variables that are logically connected. This makes our code more organized, modular, and easier to understand.

Types of Aggregated Data Types:

There are several types of aggregated data types commonly used in programming languages:


Arrays are one-dimensional structures that store multiple values of the same data type. They provide a way to access these values using an index. For example:


int[] numbers = {1, 2, 3, 4, 5};

In this example, we have an array named “numbers” that stores five integer values.


Structures allow us to define our own custom data type by grouping together different variables under a single name. Each variable within a structure is called a member or field. For example:


struct Person {
string name;
int age;

In this example, we have defined a structure named “Person” with two members: “name” and “age”. We can create instances of the structure and access its members like this:


Person john;
john.name = "John Doe";
john.age = 25;



Classes are similar to structures but provide additional features like inheritance and encapsulation. They allow us to define objects with properties (variables) and methods (functions). For example:


class Rectangle {
int width;
int height;

int calculateArea() {
return width * height;

In this example, we have defined a class named “Rectangle” with two properties: “width” and “height”. We can create objects of this class and call its methods like this:


Rectangle rect;
rect.width = 10;
rect.height = 5;
int area = rect.calculateArea();



Lists are dynamic data structures that can grow or shrink in size. They allow us to store an ordered collection of elements. For example:


List names = new List();

In this example, we have created a list named “names” that stores three string values.

Benefits of Aggregated Data Types:

Using aggregated data types offers several benefits:

  • Organization: Aggregated data types help us organize related variables, making our code more structured and readable.
  • Reusability: Structures and classes allow us to define custom data types that we can reuse throughout our code.
  • Easier Manipulation: Aggregated data types provide convenient ways to manipulate the data they hold. For example, arrays allow us to iterate over their elements using loops.

Aggregated data types are an essential concept in programming. They provide a powerful way to organize and manipulate related data elements effectively.

By using arrays, structures, classes, and lists, we can create more efficient and modular code. So next time you encounter complex sets of related data, remember to employ aggregated data types to simplify your code and improve its readability.

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