What Is the Difference Between Number and Integer Data Type?


Heather Bennett

What Is the Difference Between Number and Integer Data Type?

In programming, data types are used to represent different kinds of values. Two commonly used data types are numbers and integers. While they seem similar, there are significant differences between them.


A number data type is a broad category that includes all kinds of numerical values, such as integers, floating-point numbers, and even complex numbers. It can represent both whole numbers and fractional numbers.


An integer, on the other hand, is a specific type of number that represents whole numbers without any fractional or decimal parts. It is often used when precision is crucial, and there is no need to represent fractional values.

Difference in Representation

The primary difference between the two data types lies in their representation in memory. Integers are typically stored using a fixed amount of memory that depends on the programming language or platform.

They can be represented using 8 bits (1 byte), 16 bits (2 bytes), 32 bits (4 bytes), or even more.

Numbers, on the other hand, require more memory because they need to store additional information to represent fractional parts. Floating-point numbers, for example, use a portion of the memory to store the decimal point position.


Another significant difference between integers and numbers is their precision. Integers have fixed precision since they deal only with whole numbers. The precision of a number data type depends on its implementation and can vary based on the programming language or platform being used.


The choice between using integers or number data types depends on the specific requirements of your program. If you need to represent whole numbers without any fractional parts, an integer data type is the most appropriate choice.

It provides precise and efficient storage for such values.

On the other hand, if your program deals with fractional numbers or requires a higher level of precision, a number data type is more suitable. Floating-point numbers, for instance, can represent a wide range of values and are often used in scientific calculations where precision is crucial.


In summary, the difference between number and integer data types lies in their representation in memory, precision, and usage. Integers are used to represent whole numbers without fractional parts and offer fixed precision and efficient storage. Numbers encompass a broader range of numerical values, including both integers and fractional numbers, with varying levels of precision depending on the implementation.

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