What Is the Real Data Type in SQL?

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Scott Campbell

What Is the Real Data Type in SQL?

The real data type in SQL is used to store floating-point numbers with single precision. It is also known as a single-precision floating-point number.

The real data type occupies 4 bytes of storage space.

Real Data Type Syntax

The syntax for defining a column with the real data type is as follows:

column_name REAL;

For example, to create a table called “employees” with a column named “salary” of the real data type, you would use the following SQL statement:

CREATE TABLE employees (
  salary REAL
);

Real Data Type Limitations

While the real data type provides a way to store floating-point numbers, it does have some limitations that you should be aware of.

  • Precision: The real data type provides approximate values and can result in rounding errors. This means that the stored value may not be exactly equal to the value entered.
  • Range: The range of values that can be stored using the real data type is limited compared to other numeric data types.
  • Comparison: When comparing two real values for equality, it is recommended to use a tolerance or range instead of direct equality comparison due to potential rounding errors.

Real Data Type Example

Let’s consider an example where we have a table called “products” with a column named “price” defined as real. We want to insert a product with a price of $9.99 into this table.

INSERT INTO products (price)
VALUES (9.99);

However, when we retrieve the data from the table, we may find that the stored value is not exactly $9.99 due to rounding errors caused by the real data type’s approximate nature.

Conclusion

The real data type in SQL is a useful tool for storing floating-point numbers with single precision. However, it is important to remember its limitations in terms of precision, range, and comparison.

By understanding these limitations, you can make informed decisions when working with real data types in your SQL queries and ensure accurate results.

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