Fraser Hamilton

How to sum a column in SQL

July 22, 2020

Let’s say we have a database table named orders with columns: id, name, and cost.

id name cost
1 John Doe 134.00
2 Eve Marcus 146.00
3 Lucy Tomlin 20.00
4 Bill Carson 118.00
5 John Doe 102.00
6 Lucy Tomlin 90.00
7 Lucy Tomlin 34.00
8 Bill Carson 122.00

In our application we might want to find the total cost of all orders, this is a perfect use case for the SUM aggregate function. Here’s what our query would look like:

SELECT SUM(cost) as total_cost FROM orders

And here’s the result:


But we can take this even further, what if we wanted to total up each persons orders? We can alter our select to include the order name and then grouping on it. So our new query looks like this:

SELECT name, SUM(cost) as total_cost FROM orders GROUP BY name;

And this is our result:

name total_cost
John Doe 236.00
Eve Marcus 146.00
Lucy Tomlin 144.00
Bill Carson 240.00

Written by Fraser Hamilton a full stack developer based out of Edinburgh, Scotland.

© 2020, Fraser Hamilton