I want to select and eventually delete records from a point in time earlier than current year minus "x" years.

I'm unsure of the most efficient way to do this.

  • You are looking for the mos efficient way? Which ways did you consider? How many rows/bytes do you want to delete/keep? What version of Oracle do you use?
    – miracle173
    Commented Jul 31, 2015 at 16:20

3 Answers 3


This will delete anything three years older than January 1st of this year.

DELETE table_name 
WHERE change_date < ADD_MONTHS(TRUNC(SYSDATE, 'YYYY'), -36);
  • Will this keep the current year as well? Ex: So on Aug 1st 2015, I want to keep all of 2015 (Jan 1 - Aug 1) and then all of 2014 and delete anything older.
    – user71835
    Commented Jul 31, 2015 at 14:32
  • If you use "DELETE table_name WHERE change_date < ADD_MONTHS(TRUNC(SYSDATE, 'YYYY'), -12);" you will delete anything older that January 1, 2014 at midnight. In other words anything from 2013 and before. -12 just means subtract 12 months from January 1st of this year.
    – Gandolf989
    Commented Jul 31, 2015 at 16:13

You can use extract() to get the actual year and compare those:

DELETE FROM table_name 
WHERE extract(year from change_date) <= extract(year from current_date) - 5;

If today is 2015 this will delete anything that is in 2010 or older.

Replace the - 5 with the "X" you want to use.

Note that extract(year from change_date) will not make use of an index on change_date itself. If performance is critical for this, you might want to create an index on the expression.


You'll want to review the DATEADD() function. So, a simple version is like this:

FROM YourData 
WHERE DateField < DATEADD(yy, -1, GETDATE());


FROM YourData 

So, this would give you data between 2010 and 2014. (yes you can add negative years)

  • You may want to ensure you understand how BETWEEN works. It's typically easier to understand later on if you use (DateField >= DATEADD(year,-5, GETDATE()) AND DateField <= DATEADD(year, -1, GETDATE()))
    – Hannah Vernon
    Commented Jul 31, 2015 at 14:42
  • Also, instead of using yy as the parameter for DATEADD() you should use the full name, year, since its much more concise and you won't inadvertently shoot yourself in the foot.
    – Hannah Vernon
    Commented Jul 31, 2015 at 14:44
  • You may want to add details about how to convert that into a DELETE statement, as well.
    – Hannah Vernon
    Commented Jul 31, 2015 at 14:46
  • 4
    The question is tagged oracle. There is no dateadd() function in Oracle.
    – user1822
    Commented Jul 31, 2015 at 14:51

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