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The PostgreSQL 9.0 Reference Manual - Volume 1A - SQL Language Reference
by The PostgreSQL Global Development Group
Paperback (6"x9"), 454 pages
ISBN 9781906966041
RRP £14.95 ($19.95)

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6.5 Date/Time Types

PostgreSQL supports the full set of SQL date and time types, shown in Table 6-9. The operations available on these data types are described in section 7.9 Date/Time Functions and Operators.

Table 6-9: Date/Time Types
Name Storage Size Description Low ValueHigh Value Resolution
timestamp [ (p) ] [ without time zone ] 8 bytes both date and time (no time zone) 4713 BC → 294276 AD 1 microsecond / 14 digits
timestamp [ (p) ] with time zone 8 bytes both date and time, with time zone 4713 BC → 294276 AD 1 microsecond / 14 digits
date 4 bytes date (no time of day) 4713 BC → 5874897 AD 1 day
time [ (p) ] [ without time zone ] 8 bytes time of day (no date) 00:00:00 → 24:00:00 1 microsecond / 14 digits
time [ (p) ] with time zone 12 bytes times of day only, with time zone 00:00:00+1459 → 24:00:00-1459 1 microsecond / 14 digits
interval [ fields ] [ (p) ] 12 bytes time interval -178000000 years → 178000000 years 1 microsecond / 14 digits

Note: The SQL standard requires that writing just timestamp be equivalent to timestamp without time zone, and PostgreSQL honors that behavior. (Releases prior to 7.3 treated it as timestamp with time zone.)

time, timestamp, and interval accept an optional precision value p which specifies the number of fractional digits retained in the seconds field. By default, there is no explicit bound on precision. The allowed range of p is from 0 to 6 for the timestamp and interval types.

Note: When timestamp values are stored as eight-byte integers (currently the default), microsecond precision is available over the full range of values. When timestamp values are stored as double precision floating-point numbers instead (a deprecated compile-time option), the effective limit of precision might be less than 6. timestamp values are stored as seconds before or after midnight 2000-01-01. When timestamp values are implemented using floating-point numbers, microsecond precision is achieved for dates within a few years of 2000-01-01, but the precision degrades for dates further away. Note that using floating-point datetimes allows a larger range of timestamp values to be represented than shown above: from 4713 BC up to 5874897 AD.

The same compile-time option also determines whether time and interval values are stored as floating-point numbers or eight-byte integers. In the floating-point case, large interval values degrade in precision as the size of the interval increases.

For the time types, the allowed range of p is from 0 to 6 when eight-byte integer storage is used, or from 0 to 10 when floating-point storage is used.

The interval type has an additional option, which is to restrict the set of stored fields by writing one of these phrases:


Note that if both fields and p are specified, the fields must include SECOND, since the precision applies only to the seconds.

The type time with time zone is defined by the SQL standard, but the definition exhibits properties which lead to questionable usefulness. In most cases, a combination of date, time, timestamp without time zone, and timestamp with time zone should provide a complete range of date/time functionality required by any application.

The types abstime and reltime are lower precision types which are used internally. You are discouraged from using these types in applications; these internal types might disappear in a future release.

ISBN 9781906966041The PostgreSQL 9.0 Reference Manual - Volume 1A - SQL Language ReferenceSee the print edition