What Is Physical Data Type?


Larry Thompson

What Is Physical Data Type?

In the world of programming and database management, data types play a crucial role in defining the characteristics and behavior of various data elements. One such type is the physical data type.

Let’s explore what physical data types are and how they are used in the context of programming and databases.


A physical data type, also known as a storage data type, is a classification that determines how computer systems store and represent data in memory or on disk. It defines the format, size, and encoding scheme used to store values of a particular type.

Common Physical Data Types

Here are some common examples of physical data types:

  • Integer: Used to store whole numbers without fractional parts.
  • Float: Used to store decimal numbers with floating-point precision.
  • Character: Used to store single characters or small strings.
  • Date/Time: Used to store dates or timestamps.
  • Blob: Binary Large Object, used to store large binary data such as images or documents.

Data Type Selection

Choosing the appropriate physical data type for a particular field or column is essential for efficient storage and retrieval of data. Factors such as the range of values, precision requirements, and storage constraints should be considered during the selection process.

Data Integrity

Properly defining and using physical data types ensures data integrity, as it helps prevent data corruption or loss due to incompatible value assignments or storage overflows. For example, using a numeric data type for storing numbers eliminates the risk of storing non-numeric values.


In summary, physical data types are essential in programming and database management as they define how data is stored and represented in computer systems. By selecting appropriate physical data types, developers can ensure efficient storage, retrieval, and integrity of their data.

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