Why We Use Numeric Data Type in SQL?


Larry Thompson

When working with SQL, the choice of data types is an important consideration. One commonly used data type is the numeric data type. In this article, we will explore the reasons why we use the numeric data type in SQL and how it can be beneficial in various scenarios.

What is a Numeric Data Type?

A numeric data type is used to store numerical values in a database table. It represents numbers and can be classified into different subtypes based on their precision and scale requirements.

Benefits of Using Numeric Data Type

The numeric data type offers several advantages:

  • Precision: The numeric data type allows for precise representation of numbers. It ensures that calculations and comparisons are accurate, without any loss of precision.
  • Storage Efficiency: Numeric data types require less storage space compared to other data types like character or text.

    This can lead to significant savings in terms of storage costs, especially when dealing with large datasets.

  • Efficient Sorting and Indexing: Numeric values are easily sortable, allowing for efficient querying and indexing operations. This can improve the performance of database operations that involve sorting or searching based on numeric values.

Commonly Used Numeric Data Types

In SQL, there are various numeric data types available for different use cases:

  • INT: The INT (integer) data type is used to store whole numbers without decimal points. It has a fixed length and can represent a wide range of values.
  • FLOAT: The FLOAT data type is used to store floating-point numbers with decimal points.

    It provides approximate precision and is suitable for scientific calculations or situations where exact precision is not critical.

  • DECIMAL: The DECIMAL data type is used to store numbers with decimal points and provides precise precision. It is commonly used for financial calculations or situations where exact precision is required.

Example Usage of Numeric Data Type

Let’s consider an example to understand the practical usage of numeric data types in SQL. Suppose we have a table to store employee salaries. We can use the DECIMAL data type to represent the salary amount, ensuring accurate calculations and storage of decimal values.

CREATE TABLE employee (
  id INT,
  name VARCHAR(100),
  salary DECIMAL(10, 2)

In this example, the DECIMAL(10, 2) data type specifies that the salary column can store up to 10 digits with 2 decimal places. This ensures precise representation of salaries and supports calculations involving monetary values.


The numeric data type in SQL offers precise representation, efficient storage, and sorting capabilities for numerical values. By choosing the appropriate numeric data type based on the requirements of your application, you can ensure accurate calculations and optimal performance in your database operations.

So next time you are working with numerical values in SQL, consider using the numeric data type for better precision and efficiency!

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