Working with Enum Data Type in Laravel Migrations: Simplify Your Database Constraints

Working with Enum Data Type in Laravel Migrations: Simplify Your Database Constraints

When designing a database schema, you may encounter a scenario where you need to limit the values that can be stored in a particular column. For instance, you may want to ensure that a user's status can only be "active", "inactive", or "pending". In such cases, the enum data type comes in handy in Laravel migrations.

In this post, we'll explore how the enum data type works in Laravel migrations and why it can be a helpful way to simplify your database constraints.

What is an Enum?

An enum (short for "enumeration") is a special data type that allows you to define a set of named values. In other words, it's like an array of named constants. When you define an enum data type, you specify the list of possible values that can be stored in that column.

Defining an Enum Column in Laravel Migrations

To define an enum column in a Laravel migration, you can use the enum method on a Blueprint object. The enum method accepts two arguments: the name of the column and an array of possible val


Here's an example:

Schema::create('users', function (Blueprint $table) {
    $table->enum('status', ['active', 'inactive', 'pending']);

In this example, we're creating a column called "status" that can only have one of three values: "active", "inactive", or "pending".

When you define an enum column, Laravel will create a database-level constraint that ensures that the value stored in the column matches one of the allowed values. This means that if you try to insert or update a row with an invalid value, you'll get a database error.

    'name' => 'John Doe',
    'email' => '',
    'status' => 'active', // Valid value

And here's an example of trying to insert an invalid value:

    'name' => 'Jane Doe',
    'email' => '',
    'status' => 'foo', // Invalid value

If you try to run the second example, you'll get a database error because 'foo' is not one of the allowed values for the status column.

Benefits of Using Enum Columns

Using enum columns can provide several benefits for your database schema:

  1. Simplify Constraints: enum columns can simplify your database constraints by allowing you to enforce a fixed set of values for a column. This can prevent data inconsistencies and improve data integrity.
  2. Improved Readability: Using enum columns can make your data more readable and self-documenting. For instance, when you have an enum column called status with possible values of "active", "inactive", and "pending", it's easier to understand what those values mean compared to using integers or strings.
  3. Improved Querying: With enum columns, querying data becomes more efficient. Since enum values are internally stored as integers, they take up less space in the database than storing strings. This can make querying data faster and more efficient.


The enum data type is a useful way to define a column that can only have a fixed set of values. This can simplify your database constraints, improve readability, and make querying data more efficient. When designing your database schema in Laravel, consider using enum columns where appropriate to simplify your data constraints and make your data more consistent.


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Maye Jacob

Jacob Olorunmaye

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