What Is Numeric Data Type in SQL Server?


Heather Bennett

Numeric data type is an essential concept in SQL Server. It allows us to store and manipulate numerical values within the database. In this article, we will explore the different numeric data types available in SQL Server and understand their characteristics and usage.

Introduction to Numeric Data Types

In SQL Server, numeric data types are used to store numeric values such as integers, decimals, and floating-point numbers. These data types are designed to handle a wide range of numerical values and provide various levels of precision and scale.

Integer Data Types

SQL Server offers several integer data types that can be used to store whole numbers without any fractional component. Let’s take a look at some commonly used integer data types:

  • TINYINT: This data type can store values from 0 to 255. It requires 1 byte of storage.
  • SMALLINT: It can store values from -32,768 to 32,767.

    It requires 2 bytes of storage.

  • INT: INT data type is used for storing integers ranging from -2,147,483,648 to 2,147,483,647. It requires 4 bytes of storage.
  • BIGINT: This type is used for large integers ranging from -9,223,372,036,854,775,808 to 9,223,372,036,8547,,775807. It requires 8 bytes of storage.

Decimal Data Types

Decimal data types in SQL Server are used for representing fixed-point decimal numbers with a specified precision and scale. Some popular decimal data types include:

  • DECIMAL: This data type is used for storing fixed-point decimal numbers with a defined precision and scale. It requires 5 to 17 bytes of storage.
  • NUMERIC: Similar to the DECIMAL data type, the NUMERIC data type is used for storing fixed-point decimal numbers. It requires 5 to 17 bytes of storage as well.

Floating-Point Data Types

Floating-point data types are used to store approximate numeric values with a floating decimal point. SQL Server provides two floating-point data types:

  • FLOAT: This data type is used for storing floating-point numbers ranging from -1.79E+308 to -2.23E-308, 0, and from 2.23E-308 to 1.79E+308. It requires 4 or 8 bytes of storage.
  • REAL: The REAL data type is also used for storing floating-point numbers, but it has a smaller range compared to FLOAT.

Selecting the Right Numeric Data Type

When selecting a numeric data type in SQL Server, it’s important to consider the range and precision requirements of your data. Using an inappropriate data type can result in wasted storage space or loss of precision.

For example, if you need to store whole numbers ranging from -100 to +100, using INT or even SMALLINT would be sufficient. However, if you need to store fractional values with high precision, using DECIMAL or NUMERIC would be more appropriate.

In Conclusion

Understanding the different numeric data types in SQL Server is crucial when designing database schemas and working with numerical data. By selecting the right data type, you can efficiently store and manipulate numeric values while conserving storage space and maintaining data accuracy.

So, the next time you work with numerical data in SQL Server, make sure to choose the most suitable numeric data type based on your requirements!

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