What Is the Date Data Type in SQL?


Heather Bennett

What Is the Date Data Type in SQL?

SQL, or Structured Query Language, is a programming language used for managing and manipulating data in relational database management systems (RDBMS). One of the essential components of SQL is the date data type, which allows users to store and work with dates and times in their databases.

In this article, we will explore the date data type in SQL and its various features.

Date Data Type

The date data type in SQL is used to store dates without any specific time component. It represents a particular day within a specific range of dates.

The format for storing dates may vary depending on the database system being used. However, most databases support the standard format of ‘YYYY-MM-DD’, where YYYY represents the four-digit year, MM represents the two-digit month, and DD represents the two-digit day.

Benefits of Using the Date Data Type

Using the date data type offers several advantages over storing dates as strings or numbers. Here are some benefits:

  • Efficient Storage: Storing dates as a dedicated data type allows for efficient storage and retrieval operations.
  • Data Validation: The date data type ensures that only valid dates can be stored in the database.
  • Date Arithmetic: SQL provides built-in functions for performing calculations and comparisons on date values.
  • Date Formatting: The date data type allows for easy conversion to different formats for display purposes.

Working with Date Data Type

When working with the date data type in SQL, you can perform various operations such as inserting, updating, and querying date values. Here are some commonly used SQL functions for manipulating dates:

  • GETDATE(): Retrieves the current system date and time.
  • DATEADD(): Adds or subtracts a specified time interval from a given date.
  • DATEDIFF(): Calculates the difference between two dates.
  • DATEPART(): Extracts a specific part of a date, such as the year, month, or day.

The exact syntax and usage of these functions may vary slightly depending on the database system. It’s always recommended to consult the documentation of your specific database for accurate information.


In conclusion, the date data type in SQL is a fundamental component for storing and manipulating dates in databases. It provides efficient storage, data validation, and various built-in functions for performing arithmetic and formatting operations on date values.

Understanding how to work with the date data type is crucial for any SQL developer or database administrator. By utilizing its features effectively, you can ensure accurate and efficient handling of dates in your database operations.

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