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An In-depth Guide to Understand HAVING Clause in SQL

SQL provides a platform for exploring and manipulating data, like a playground. Even though the SELECT, FROM, and WHERE clauses are important, the HAVING Clause in SQL is a hidden treasure within this trio. Frequently not properly understood and overlooked in comparison to the WHERE clause, the HAVING clause has its own special ability: filtering data using aggregate functions.


Picture a sprawling sea of data, filled with a wealth of information. The WHERE clause is like a large net that filters out particular rows based on specific conditions. The HAVING Clause in SQL functions on a distinct level. It delves further into examining the outcomes of the network – the combined sets of data – and sifts through them according to certain criteria.


In This Article: 


Comprehending the Strength of Collectives


Before we explore the HAVING Clause in SQL, let’s review the idea of data grouping in SQL. The GROUP BY Clause organises rows with matching values in a specific column, forming unique groups. Picture segregating a basket of fruits based on their kind. The GROUP BY Clause categorises apples, oranges, and other items into separate groups.


The Power of Combined Functions


Now, let’s additionally consider another layer of analysis. Aggregate functions such as SUM, AVG, MIN, and MAX enable us to summarise these groupings. The total amount of apples can be determined by adding them all together (SUM), while the average cost of oranges can be found by dividing the total cost by the number of oranges (AVG). The smallest number of kiwis can be identified as the minimum quantity (MIN), and the heaviest watermelon can be recognised as the maximum weight (MAX). These functions offer important information about the traits of every group.


Input the HAVING Clause: Group Filtering


This is when the HAVING Clause in SQL comes into play. It enables us to sort through this categorised and condensed data using the total values rather than individual values in each row. Consider it like a filter placed following the creation of the groups. Conditions can be established using aggregated values to target certain groups for filtering purposes.


Syntax and Breakdown


The HAVING Clause follows a clear syntax:



SELECT column1, column2, …

FROM table_name

GROUP BY group_column

HAVING condition_on_aggregate_function;


  • SELECT: Specifies the columns to be retrieved.


  • FROM: Indicates the table containing the data.


  • GROUP BY: Groups rows based on a specific column.


  • HAVING: Filters the groups based on a condition applied to an aggregate function.


  • condition_on_aggregate_function: This defines the filtering criteria using comparison operators (>, <, =, etc.) and an aggregate function applied to a column within the group.


Let’s Code! Examples to Illustrate the HAVING Clause


Example 1: Finding Popular Cities with High Average Orders


Imagine an e-commerce database with data on orders placed in various cities. We want to identify cities with a high average order value. Here’s the SQL code:



SELECT city, AVG(order_value) AS avg_order_value

FROM orders


HAVING AVG(order_value) > 100;


This code first groups the orders by city using GROUP BY. Then, the HAVING Clause calculates the average order value for each city (AVG(order_value)) and filters the groups, keeping only those cities with an average order value exceeding 100.


Example 2: Identifying Underperforming Sales Representatives


Suppose you have a sales database with information on sales representatives and their monthly sales figures. You want to pinpoint representatives consistently falling below a minimum monthly sales target. Here’s how the HAVING clause can help:



SELECT rep_name, SUM(sales_amount) AS total_sales

FROM sales_data

GROUP BY rep_name

HAVING SUM(sales_amount) < 5000;


This code groups the sales data by the representative’s name (rep_name). The HAVING Clause calculates the total sales for each representative (SUM(sales_amount)) and filters the groups, keeping only those representatives whose total sales fall below the threshold of 5000.


The HAVING Clause vs. WHERE Clause: Understanding the Difference


Both the HAVING and WHERE clauses filter data, but they operate at different stages of the query execution process. The WHERE clause filters individual rows before they are grouped. The HAVING Clause, on the other hand, filters entire groups based on the aggregate values calculated after grouping.


Here’s an analogy: Imagine sifting flour. The WHERE clause is like picking out large pebbles before pouring the flour into a sieve. The HAVING Clause is like using the sieve to filter out finer particles based on their size after the flour has already been poured.


Unlocking the Potential: Advanced HAVING Clause Applications


The HAVING Clause goes beyond basic filtering. Here are some advanced applications:


Identifying Outliers: Use HAVING with statistical functions like STDDEV (standard deviation) to find groups with values deviating significantly from the average. This can help identify unusual patterns or potential data errors.


Example 3: Detecting Unusual Sales Spikes by Region


Let’s analyse monthly sales data by region. We want to investigate regions experiencing a sudden, significant increase in sales compared to their historical average. Here’s the code:



SELECT region, month, SUM(sales_amount) AS total_sales

FROM sales_data

GROUP BY region, month

HAVING SUM(sales_amount) > (AVG(SUM(sales_amount)) OVER (PARTITION BY region) * 1.5);


This code employs a window function, AVG(SUM(sales_amount)) OVER (PARTITION BY region), to calculate the average monthly sales for each region. The HAVING Clause then compares the current month’s sales for each region (SUM(sales_amount)) to 1.5 times the historical average. 

This identifies regions with a potential sales spike.


Complex Filtering with Multiple Conditions: The HAVING Cause allows combining multiple conditions using logical operators (AND, OR) to create more intricate filters.


Example 4: Analysing Customer Segments


Consider a customer database with data on customer purchases by category. We want to identify customer segments with high average order values and a preference for specific product categories. Here’s how:



SELECT customer_segment, AVG(order_value) AS avg_order_value, SUM(CASE WHEN category = ‘Electronics’ THEN order_value ELSE 0 END) AS electronics_spend

FROM orders

GROUP BY customer_segment

HAVING AVG(order_value) > 150 AND SUM(CASE WHEN category = ‘Electronics’ THEN order_value ELSE 0 END) > 200;


This example showcases the power of combining functions and conditions. The CASE statement calculates the total spent on electronics (category = ‘Electronics’) within each customer segment. The HAVING Clause filters segments with both a high average order value and significant electronics spending.


The HAVING Clause – Your Ally in Mastering Grouped Data Analysis


The HAVING Clause in SQL, often overlooked, is a powerful tool for analysing and filtering grouped data. By understanding its functionality and applications, you can unlock valuable insights from your data. So, the next time you’re working with grouped data, remember the HAVING Clause – your secret weapon for mastering group-level analysis in SQL. Join Accelerator Program in Business Analytics and Data Science to understand it better.





The HAVING Clause is used to filter groups of data after they have been grouped by the GROUP BY clause. It filters based on conditions applied to aggregate functions (SUM, AVG, MIN, MAX etc.) calculated for those groups.
The WHERE clause filters individual rows before they are grouped. The HAVING Clause filters entire groups based on the aggregate values calculated after grouping.
SQL SELECT column1, column2, ... FROM table_name GROUP BY group_column HAVING condition_on_aggregate_function;
Yes, you can combine multiple conditions using logical operators (AND, OR) in the HAVING Clause to create more complex filters.

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