If I had a table called person with the fk country_id. Assuming that we have a table called country, which has a default_country column. And all rows except one (for USA), have default_country set to 0, only USA row has default_country to 1.

So if I m inserting person record, and I don't provide country_id, how can I default all new records to have country_id save with the id from row USA.

I know I can set a default column value to id (which I hardcode), but I don't know if its possible to get that from the table, here is what I mean:


-1 is the hardcoded. it would be nice if I could select it from country table using default_country flag rather than knowing the ID in advance, any ideas?

  • How about a trigger?
    – mustaccio
    Commented Jan 9, 2017 at 15:49
  • @mustaccio no can't do it. I mean I can, but I ll do this on the app end. thanks Commented Jan 9, 2017 at 16:41

1 Answer 1


It's not possible with DEFAULT. Docs says:

Restrictions on Default Column Values
Default column values are subject to the following restrictions:

A DEFAULT expression cannot contain references to PL/SQL functions or to other columns, the pseudocolumns LEVEL, PRIOR, and ROWNUM, or date constants that are not fully specified.

The expression can be of any form except a scalar subquery expression.

So DEFAULT (SELECT country_if FROM country where default_country =1 and rownum=1), and even DEFAULT (SELECT 1 FROM DUAL) fail because it cannot contain subquery . You cannot work it around by defining your own function either.
The only way is to create row level before insert trigger .

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