SQL Server DATEDIFF Function


The DATEDIFF function returns the difference between two dates according to the datepart specified: such as year, day, month, etc.


DATEDIFF(datepart, date1, date2)


  • datepart - This is the datepart to get the difference between the two dates. It can be a year (yy, yyyy), quarter (qq, q), month (mm, m), dayofyear(dy, y), day (dd, d), week (wk, ww), weekday (dw, w), hour (hh), minute (mi, n), second (ss, s), millisecond (ms), microsecond (mcs), nanosecond (ns). You can use the full name or the abbreviations in parenthesis.
  • date1– Is the first date in the operation. This value can be a date or time.
  • date2– Is the second date we want to use to compare with the first date. This value can be a date or time.

Simple DATEDIFF Example

The following example will show the number of years using the current date and March 11, 1979. If the dates were reversed, we would get a negative value.

SELECT DATEDIFF(year, '03-11-1979', CURRENT_TIMESTAMP) as yeardiff
Simple DATE_DIFF example

Something to note is that DATEDIFF for year only takes the year part into consideration which was pointed out by one of the readers. So if we look at the example below this still returns 1, even though it has been less than 1 full year.

SELECT DATEDIFF(year, '02-01-2021', '01-01-2022') as yeardiff


If a NULL parameter is used the result will be NULL.

DATEADIFF with NULL values

DATEDIFF Examples Using All Options

The next example will show the differences between two dates for each specific datapart and abbreviation. We will use the below date for the examples.

DECLARE @date  datetime2 = '2021-01-07 14:36:17.6222691'
DECLARE @date2 datetime2 = '2022-01-14 12:32:07.8494441'
DateGroup DatePart Query Result
day d SELECT DATEDIFF(d, @date, @date2) 372
day day SELECT DATEDIFF(day, @date, @date2) 372
day dd SELECT DATEDIFF(dd, @date, @date2) 372
dayofyear dayofyear SELECT DATEDIFF(dayofyear, @date, @date2) 372
dayofyear dy SELECT DATEDIFF(dy, @date, @date2) 372
dayofyear y SELECT DATEDIFF(y, @date, @date2) 372
hour hh SELECT DATEDIFF(hh, @date, @date2) 8926
hour hour SELECT DATEDIFF(hour, @date, @date2) 8926
microsecond microsecond SELECT DATEDIFF(microsecond, @date, @date2)  
microsecond mcs SELECT DATEDIFF(mcs, @date, @date2)  
millisecond millisecond SELECT DATEDIFF(millisecond, @date, @date2)  
millisecond ms SELECT DATEDIFF(ms, @date, @date2)  
minute mi SELECT DATEDIFF(mi, @date, @date2) 535556
minute minute SELECT DATEDIFF(minute, @date, @date2) 535556
minute n SELECT DATEDIFF(n, @date, @date2) 535556
month m SELECT DATEDIFF(m, @date, @date2) 12
month mm SELECT DATEDIFF(mm, @date, @date2) 12
month month SELECT DATEDIFF(month, @date, @date2) 12
nanosecond nanosecond SELECT DATEDIFF(nanosecond, @date, @date2)  
nanosecond ns SELECT DATEDIFF(ns, @date, @date2)  
quarter q SELECT DATEDIFF(q, @date, @date2) 4
quarter qq SELECT DATEDIFF(qq, @date, @date2) 4
quarter quarter SELECT DATEDIFF(quarter, @date, @date2) 4
second s SELECT DATEDIFF(s, @date, @date2) 32133350
second second SELECT DATEDIFF(second, @date, @date2) 32133350
second ss SELECT DATEDIFF(ss, @date, @date2) 32133350
week week SELECT DATEDIFF(week, @date, @date2) 53
week wk SELECT DATEDIFF(wk, @date, @date2) 53
week ww SELECT DATEDIFF(ww, @date, @date2) 53
weekday dw SELECT DATEDIFF(dw, @date, @date2) 372
weekday w SELECT DATEDIFF(w, @date, @date2) 372
weekday weekday SELECT DATEDIFF(weekday, @date, @date2) 372
year year SELECT DATEDIFF(year, @date, @date2) 1
year yy SELECT DATEDIFF(yy, @date, @date2) 1
year yyyy SELECT DATEDIFF(yyyy, @date, @date2) 1

Note: for the items that were left blank created an overflow error as shown below.

DATEDIFF Function Resulted in an Overflow

The following example will display an error message.

SELECT DATEDIFF(millisecond, '02-11-1972', CURRENT_TIMESTAMP) as datediff, 'millisecond' as unit 

The error message is the following:

The datediff function resulted in an overflow. The number of dateparts separating two date/time instances is too large. Try to use datediff with a less precise datepart.

This error occurs because there are too many milliseconds between 1972 until the current date.

Working with Table Data

The following example will show the number of years that the employee worked in a company based on the HireDate and they have worked there at least 10 years.

SELECT DATEDIFF(yy, HireDate, GETDATE()) as YEARS, BusinessEntityID
FROM HumanResources.Employee
WHERE DATEDIFF(yy, HireDate, GETDATE()) > 10
DATEDIFF with tables

Related Articles

Comments For This Article

Thursday, February 10, 2022 - 3:40:16 PM - Greg Robidoux Back To Top (89779)
Thanks Jeff for pointing that out. We have updated the article.


Thursday, February 10, 2022 - 10:09:02 AM - Jeff Moden Back To Top (89774)
This article is a simplified version of what is in "Books Online" and, because of the simplification, it's missing one of the most important parts this is about the DATEDIFF() function. DATEDIFF() does NOT count the difference in "periods". DATEDIFF() only counts clock and calendar BOUNDARIES. Without knowing that, then people end up doing the wrong calculations for determining things like age, as was also done at the beginning of this article.

In other words, if you don't explain why the following code, which uses two date/times that are only 3 milliseconds apart, says that 1 year passed, the article misses one of the most important principles of DATEDIFF() there is.

SELECT DATEDIFF(yy,'31 Dec 2022 23:59:59.997','01 Jan 2023 00:00:00.000');



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