In response to Itzik Ben-Gan's "DATETIME Calculations, Part 5," reader Gustav Brock commended Itzik for providing such a comprehensive look at a single topic. "That way," he said, "you can reach some corners and not only the broad lines."

**Related:** Age Calculations

"However," Brock went on, "*Black Belt* suggests something such as "optimum" or "superior." Thus, I was a little disappointed to see that you published a not-so-good old and limited method for calculating age. This solution is limited because it fails for users born on February 29 when age is calculated for February 28 in a common (non-leap) year. The rule is that for such years, February 28 is used as substitute for the missing February 29."

Brock admits to not writing much T-SQL, but he does have a function for Access VBA that he maintains "gets it right." Here it is:

Public Function Years( _ ByVal datDate1 As Date, _ ByVal datDate2 As Date) _ As Integer ' Returns the difference in full years between datDate1 and datDate2. ' ' Calculates correctly for: ' negative differences ' leap years ' dates of February 29 ' date/time values with embedded time values ' negative date/time values (prior to 1899-12-29) ' ' 2000-11-03. Cactus Data ApS, CPH. ' 2000-12-16. Leap year correction modified to be symmetrical. ' Calculation of intDaysDiff simplified. ' Renamed from YearsDiff() to Years(). ' 2000-12-18. Introduced cbytMonthDaysMax. ' Constants for leap year calculation. Last normal date of February. Const cbytFebMonth As Byte = 2 Const cbytFebLastDay As Byte = 28 ' Maximum number of days in a month. Const cbytMonthDaysMax As Byte = 31 Dim intYears As Integer Dim intDaysDiff As Integer Dim intReversed As Integer ' No special error handling. On Error Resume Next intYears = DateDiff("yyyy", datDate1, datDate2) If intYears = 0 Then ' Both dates fall within the same year. Else ' Check for ultimo February and leap years. If (Month(datDate1) = cbytFebMonth) And (Month(datDate2) = cbytFebMonth) Then ' Both dates fall in February. ' Check if dates are at ultimo February. If (Day(datDate1) >= cbytFebLastDay) And (Day(datDate2) >= cbytFebLastDay) Then ' Both dates are at ultimo February. ' Check if the dates fall in leap years. If Day(DateSerial(Year(datDate1), cbytFebMonth + 1, 0)) = cbytFebLastDay Xor _ Day(DateSerial(Year(datDate2), cbytFebMonth + 1, 0)) = cbytFebLastDay Then ' Only one date falls within a leap year. ' Adjust both dates to day 28 of February. datDate1 = DateAdd("d", cbytFebLastDay - Day(datDate1), datDate1) datDate2 = DateAdd("d", cbytFebLastDay - Day(datDate2), datDate2) Else ' Both dates fall either in leap years or non leap years. ' No adjustment needed. End If End If End If ' Calculate day difference using months and days as Days() will fail when ' comparing leap years with non leap years for dates after February. intDaysDiff = (Month(datDate1) * cbytMonthDaysMax + Day(datDate1)) - (Month(datDate2) * cbytMonthDaysMax + Day(datDate2)) intReversed = Sgn(intYears) ' Decrease count of years by one if dates are closer than one year. intYears = intYears + (intReversed * ((intReversed * intDaysDiff) > 0)) End If Years = intYears End Function Public Function Age( _ ByVal datDateOfBirth As Date, _ Optional ByVal varDate As Variant) _ As Integer ' Calculates age at today's date or at a specified date earlier or later in time. ' Uses Years() for calculating difference in years. ' ' 2000-11-03. Cactus Data ApS, CPH. Dim datDate As Date ' No special error handling. On Error Resume Next If IsDate(varDate) Then datDate = CDate(varDate) Else datDate = Date End If Age = Years(datDateOfBirth, datDate) End Function

In response, Itzik says, "Different systems have different rules, and in fact, for many legal purposes, the age of a person born on February 29 in a leap year changes in a non-leap year on March 1--not February 28. Hence, my choice of which rule to apply. The code I provided purposely and intentionally adheres to this rule:

DECLARE @birthdate AS DATETIME, @eventdate AS DATETIME; SET @birthdate = '20040229'; SET @eventdate = '20070227'; SELECT DATEDIFF(year, @birthdate, @eventdate) - CASE WHEN 100 * MONTH(@eventdate) + DAY(@eventdate) THEN 1 ELSE 0 END AS Age -- Output 2 for @eventdate = '20070227' -- Output 2 for @eventdate = '20070228' -- Output 3 for @eventdate = '20070301' -- Output 3 for @eventdate = '20080228' -- Output 4 for @eventdate = '20080229'

If you're working with a system in which the age of a person born on February 29 in a leap year is supposed to change in a non-leap year on February 28, it would have actually been too easy to calculate with T-SQL; that’s because the T-SQL DATEADD function generates a February 28 date in a non-leap year when you add whole years to a February 29 date! Here’s how the calculation would have looked like:

DECLARE @birthdate AS DATETIME, @eventdate AS DATETIME; SET @birthdate = '20040229'; SET @eventdate = '20070227'; SELECT DATEDIFF(year, @birthdate, @eventdate) - CASE WHEN DATEADD(year, DATEDIFF(year, @birthdate, @eventdate), @birthdate) > @eventdate THEN 1 ELSE 0 END AS Age -- Output 2 for @eventdate = '20070227' -- Output 3 for @eventdate = '20070228' -- Output 3 for @eventdate = '20070301' -- Output 3 for @eventdate = '20080228' -- Output 4 for @eventdate = '20080229'