sql averageSQL AVG returns a calculated average result based on values in a table column. AVG is one of many SQL aggregate functions that allow the programmer to apply mathematic operations to expressions or sets of expressions. It differs primarily from an operator due to its syntax. Operators perform mathematic operations on two or more columns, but aggregate functions let you perform these operations using internal SQL methods.

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The syntax for the SQL AVG function for MySQL, PostgeSQL and SQL Server is

AVG([ALL|DISTINCT]expression1, expression2, expression3 ….)

The syntax for DB2 & Oracle is

AVG([ALL|DISTINCT] expression1, expression2, expression3..) OVER (windows_clause)


ALL = Applies to all values

DISTINCT = Applies to only unique values

Expression = Argument made up of a single variable, constant, scalar function or column name

Typical usage

SELECT AVG (Column/Field) AS (New Field) FROM (Table)

The next section will run through some examples of SQL AVG in real world scenarios with suggested code as examples. All the examples will use the table below for reference and values.

Sample Database Table for examples that follow

ProductID ProductName SupplierID CategoryID Vendor_ID Price
1 Frozen Strawberry 1 1 101 18
2 Blueberry Juice 1 1 102 19
3 Maple Syrup 1 2 101 10
4 Plain Yoghurt 2 2 107 21.35
5 Sugar 2 2 102 25


Example 1

In this example, the select AVG() function calculates the average in the column Price.

SELECT AVG(Price) AS PriceAverage FROM Products;



Explanation: In this example, the AVG function calculates the average in the Price column in the Table Products under the heading PriceAverage.

Example 2

In this example, the aim is to find the products priced above the average.

SELECT ProductName, Price FROM Products

WHERE Price>(SELECT AVG(Price) FROM Products);

ProductName Price
Blueberry Juice 19
Plain Yoghurt 21.35
Sugar 25


Explanation – In this example the AVG function first calculates the average price for the column Price in the table Products. It selects those values that are greater (>) than the average value and lists them under ProductName and Price.

Example 3

In this scenario, the average of product prices between two limits is calculated.

Using SQL AVG () with a “where” clause:


FROM Products

WHERE Price>10 AND Price <= 25;



Explanation – the where clause selects the values between 10 and an upper limit of less than or equal to 25. Avg() then finds the mean of the prices in that window.


Example 4

SQL AVG() with SUM()

This example works with the SUM() the object and adds all the values in the column Price and then uses the AVG function to calculate the average.

SELECT SUM(Price), AVG(Price)

FROM Products;

SUM(Price) AVG Price
93.35 18.67



The AVG() function returns an average calculation performed on a set of expressions with default decimal places. The CAST() function however can be used in conjunction with AVG() to increase or decrease the number of decimal places. When converting decimal and numeric data types, CAST() is better at preserving the decimal places. The AS-DECIMAL is used along with the specified type when using the CAST() to stipulate the decimal places.


CAST (expression)

AS [Data Type] [specified format]


Expression – Expression made up of a single constant, variable, scalar function, or column   name


Specified Format – The required specified format

Using the Cast function with AVG()

Example 5


FROM Products



SQL AVG can use CAST both inside and outside of the AVG() function. Here is an example of each.

SQL AVG() using CAST() inside the AVG()

Example 6


AVG(CAST(Price AS DECIMAL(12,2))) AS AvgPrice

FROM Products


Vendor_ID Count  AvgPrice
101 2 14
102 2 22
107 1 21.35


Explanation – First, you need to retrieve and count the number of Vendor_Ids.  Then, you average the corresponding prices grouped by Vendor_ID. This will return an average price to two decimal places for each Vendor ID.


Averaging Date / Time Stamps in SQL

Another common usage for the AVG function is when you need to average dates and times. This can be more difficult to perform, but it can be very useful when doing trend analysis. One way SQL can do this is to use CAST() to convert the date/time stamps into floating point numbers.

The other way is to use the AVG() function as in this code snippet:

SELECT AVG (des_date – ord_date) AS average_despatch_days

FROM despatch


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Using SQL AVG and ROUND()

SQL AVG can also work in conjunction with the ROUND() function to round a number to the specified number of places.

Example 8


SELECT ROUND(AVG(Price) ,0) AS “Rounded Price Avg.”

FROM Products;

Rounded Price Avg


Example 9


SELECT Vendor_ID, AVG(Price)

FROM Products GROUP BY Vendor_ID;

Vendor_ID  AVG(Price)
101 14
102 22
107 21.35


Example 10


Vendor_ID  AVG(Price)
101 14
102 22
107 21


Example 11

SQL AVG() with ROUND(), rounded to nearest negative value

SQL AVG and ROUND() can be used to round up to a specific decimal point. Rounding can be done from the nearest negative or positive place from the decimal point.

For instance, to get the average of ‘(534.224/2)’ with a heading ‘AVG’ and the average of ‘(534.224/2)’ rounded down to the first number to the left of the decimal point (-1), you can use the following code:

SELECT AVG (534.224/2) AS “Avg.”,

ROUND (AVG(534.224/2),-1) AS “Rounded -1 Decimal Place”

FROM Products;

AVG  Rounded -1 Decimal Place
267.112 267


The AVG () function in SQL is one of the aggregate functions that enables programmers to utilize built-in mathematical tools. They can be used alongside other functions such as sum, case and round to quickly calculate values. Aggregate functions bring mathematic capabilities to queries, making the programming more efficient and easier to produce.


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