I have a table with columns:

IdNum, NameEmployee, IdInsurance, NameInsurance, num_employees_not_insured

Some employees don't have insurance so IdInsurance and NameInsurance are null.

I want to count how many employees don't have insurance and put that in the last column.

I tried:

UPDATE MajorTable2
SET num_employees_not_insured =
    (SELECT COUNT(*) FROM MajorTable2)
    WHERE 'IdInsurance' IS NULL);

and next I tried "saving the result of counting null rows to a variable" like (but I'm guessing what's in single quotes does not count as a variable):

SELECT COUNT(*) AS 'NULL_values_in_IdInsurance'
FROM `MajorTable2`
WHERE `IdInsurance` IS NULL;

UPDATE MajorTable2
SET num_employees_not_insured = 'NULL_values_in_IdInsurance';

How can I fix my logic and syntax? I know some Python but my SQL is super rusty.

  • Why do you want to update every row with the number of people not ensured? From a design point of view this seems very wrong. Either calculate it on the fly, or place this attribute in a another table with aggregated data is my suggestion
    – Lennart
    Aug 6 at 6:10
  • @Lennart it's a HW problem so just testing to see if I can do this Aug 6 at 6:22
  • UPDATE MajorTable2 AS m CROSS JOIN (SELECT COUNT(*) AS cnt FROM MajorTable2) WHERE IdInsurance IS NULL) AS g SET m.num_employees_not_insured = g.cnt; Aug 6 at 8:22
  • Your last attempt (saving into a variable) is correct as well but you need to check how to use variables. Single quoted strings is not the correct way. Aug 6 at 8:23

1 Answer 1


Here is one way to overcome the limitations in MySQL regarding updates:

WITH T (n) as (
    SELECT count(*) - count(IdInsurance) from MajorTable2
update MajorTable2 set num_employees_not_insured = (
    SELECT n from T

A slight modification of ybercubes comment is:

UPDATE MajorTable2 AS m 
    SELECT COUNT(*) - COUNT(IdInsurance) AS cnt 
    FROM MajorTable2
) AS g 
    SET m.num_employees_not_insured = g.cnt;



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