What Is Integer Data Type in C?


Scott Campbell

What Is Integer Data Type in C?

In the C programming language, an integer is a data type that represents whole numbers. It is one of the fundamental data types in C and is widely used in various applications.

Integer Data Types

In C, there are several integer data types available, each with different ranges and storage sizes. The most commonly used integer data types are:

  • char: This is the smallest integer data type in C, typically representing a single character. It has a size of 1 byte and can store values from -128 to 127 or 0 to 255 (if unsigned).
  • int: The ‘int’ data type is used to represent integers within a certain range. Its size can vary depending on the compiler and system architecture but is typically 4 bytes on most modern systems. The range of values it can store is -2147483648 to 2147483647.
  • short: The ‘short’ data type is used to represent smaller integers than ‘int’.

    It typically occupies 2 bytes of memory and has a range of -32768 to 32767.

  • long: The ‘long’ data type is used to represent larger integers than ‘int’. It usually occupies 4 bytes of memory, similar to ‘int’, but has an extended range of -9223372036854775808 to 9223372036854775807.
  • long long: Introduced in the C99 standard, the ‘long long’ data type provides an even larger range for representing integers. It usually occupies 8 bytes of memory and has a range of -9223372036854775808 to 9223372036854775807.

Using Integer Data Types

When working with integers in C, it is important to choose the appropriate data type based on the range and precision required by your program. For example, if you are dealing with a small range of values, using a ‘char’ or ‘short’ data type can save memory compared to using an ‘int’ or ‘long’.

To declare an integer variable in C, you can use the following syntax:

data_type variable_name;

For example:

int age;

You can also initialize the variable at the time of declaration:

int count = 0;

Integer Operations

C provides a variety of operators for performing arithmetic operations on integers. These include addition (+), subtraction (-), multiplication (*), division (/), and modulo (%).

In addition to basic arithmetic operations, there are also bitwise operators like AND (&), OR (|), XOR (^), left shift (<<), and right shift (>>) that work on individual bits of integer values.


#include <stdio.h>

int main() {
    int num1 = 10;
    int num2 = 5;
    int sum = num1 + num2;
    int difference = num1 - num2;
    int product = num1 * num2;
    int quotient = num1 / num2;
    int remainder = num1 % num2;
    printf("Sum: %d\n", sum);
    printf("Difference: %d\n", difference);
    printf("Product: %d\n", product);
    printf("Quotient: %d\n", quotient);
    printf("Remainder: %d\n", remainder);
    return 0;

The above example demonstrates basic arithmetic operations on two integer variables ‘num1’ and ‘num2’.


The integer data type in C is essential for working with whole numbers. By choosing the appropriate integer data type, you can optimize memory usage and ensure your program operates within the desired range of values. Understanding how to declare and use integer variables, as well as perform arithmetic operations on them, is fundamental to C programming.

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