What Is Bit Data Type in SQL?


Heather Bennett

The BIT data type in SQL is used to store binary data, specifically representing the values of true or false, on or off, or 1 or 0. It is commonly used to store boolean values in a database table.


The syntax for defining a column with the BIT data type in SQL is as follows:

column_name BIT;


A column defined as BIT can hold three possible values:

  • 0: Represents false, off, or no.
  • 1: Represents true, on, or yes.
  • NULL: Represents an unknown or undefined value.

Usage Examples

To better understand how the BIT data type works, let’s consider a few examples:

Create Table Statement:

    name VARCHAR(100),
    active BIT

In this example, we have created a table named ‘users’ with three columns: ‘id’, ‘name’, and ‘active’. The ‘active’ column is defined as BIT, which means it can hold either true (1) or false (0) values.

Inserting Data:

INSERT INTO users (id, name, active)
VALUES (1, 'John Doe', 1); 

In this example, we are inserting a new row into the ‘users’ table. The ‘active’ column is set to true (1) for the user with an ID of 1.

Updating Data:

UPDATE users
SET active = 0
WHERE id = 1; 

In this example, we are updating the ‘active’ column value to false (0) for the user with an ID of 1.


The BIT data type in SQL is a useful way to store boolean values. It allows for efficient storage and retrieval of binary data, representing true or false values. By understanding how to define and use the BIT data type, you can effectively store and manipulate boolean information in your database tables.

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