Default Value Constraint

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The DEFAULT value constraint specifies a value to write into the constrained column if one is not defined in an INSERT statement. The value may be either a hard-coded literal or an expression that is evaluated at the time the row is created.


  • The data type of the DEFAULT value must be the same as the data type of the column.
  • The DEFAULT value constraint only applies if the column does not have a value specified in the INSERT statement. You can still insert a NULL into an optional (nullable) column by explicitly inserting NULL. For example, INSERT INTO foo VALUES (1, NULL);.


You can only apply the DEFAULT value constraint to individual columns.


You can also add the DEFAULT value constraint to an existing table through ALTER COLUMN.

CREATE TABLE table_name ( column_name column_type DEFAULT default_value column_constraints , column_table_def table_constraints ) )
Parameter Description
table_name The name of the table you're creating.
column_name The name of the constrained column.
column_type The constrained column's data type.
default_value The value you want to insert by default, which must evaluate to the same data type as the column_type.
column_constraints Any other column-level constraints you want to apply to this column.
column_def Definitions for any other columns in the table.
table_constraints Any table-level constraints you want to apply.


> CREATE TABLE inventories (
    product_id        INT,
    warehouse_id      INT,
    quantity_on_hand  INT DEFAULT 100,
    PRIMARY KEY (product_id, warehouse_id)
> INSERT INTO inventories (product_id, warehouse_id) VALUES (1,20);
> INSERT INTO inventories (product_id, warehouse_id, quantity_on_hand) VALUES (2,30, NULL);
> SELECT * FROM inventories;
| product_id | warehouse_id | quantity_on_hand |
|          1 |           20 |              100 |
|          2 |           30 | NULL             |

If the DEFAULT value constraint is not specified and an explicit value is not given, a value of NULL is assigned to the column.

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