Troubleshooting Guide: How to Fix the Could Not Identify an Equality Operator for Type JSON Error

This troubleshooting guide aims to help developers resolve the "Could Not Identify an Equality Operator for Type JSON" error in PostgreSQL. This error often occurs when attempting to perform operations that require comparison or equality checks on JSON data types.

The guide will walk you through the possible reasons for this error and provide step-by-step solutions to fix it.

Table of Contents

Understanding the Error

PostgreSQL has two data types for storing JSON data: JSON and JSONB. The JSON data type stores the JSON data as plain text, while the JSONB data type stores it in a binary format. The binary format allows for more efficient storage and faster query execution.

The "Could Not Identify an Equality Operator for Type JSON" error occurs when you try to perform certain operations on the JSON data type that require an equality operator, such as comparisons or creating an index. This error is specific to the JSON data type, as PostgreSQL does not have a built-in equality operator for it. The JSONB data type, on the other hand, has built-in equality and other operators.

Possible Causes

The primary cause of this error is attempting to perform operations that require an equality operator on the JSON data type. Some of these operations include:

  • Comparing JSON values using the = or <> operators
  • Creating a UNIQUE constraint on a JSON column
  • Using the JSON data type in a GROUP BY clause


Solution 1: Use JSONB Data Type

The simplest way to resolve this error is to use the JSONB data type instead of JSON. The JSONB data type has built-in equality operators and supports additional operations that the JSON data type does not.

To change the data type of a JSON column to JSONB:

ALTER TABLE your_table_name
ALTER COLUMN your_column_name
TYPE JSONB USING your_column_name::JSONB;

Solution 2: Use Custom Equality Operators

If you need to use the JSON data type and perform operations requiring an equality operator, you can create custom equality operators for the JSON data type.

To create a custom equality operator for the JSON data type:

CREATE FUNCTION json_equals(json, json)
SELECT $1::text = $2::text;

  LEFTARG = json,
  RIGHTARG = json,
  PROCEDURE = json_equals,
  NEGATOR = <>,

Solution 3: Convert JSON to Text

In some cases, you might want to convert the JSON data to text before performing operations that require an equality operator. This can be done using the ::text type cast.

For example, to compare two JSON values as text:

FROM your_table_name
WHERE your_json_column::text = '{"key": "value"}'::text;


1. When should I use the JSON data type instead of JSONB?

The JSON data type might be more suitable in scenarios where you need to store JSON data and perform minimal querying or manipulation. This data type stores the JSON data as plain text, preserving the original formatting and order of keys.

2. What are the advantages of using the JSONB data type?

The JSONB data type provides several benefits, including:

  • Built-in equality and other operators
  • Efficient storage and faster query execution
  • Support for indexing

3. Can I use the ->> operator with the JSON data type?

Yes, the ->> operator can be used with both JSON and JSONB data types. This operator allows you to extract a value from a JSON object as text.

4. How can I create an index on a JSON column?

To create an index on a JSON column, you would first need to convert the JSON data to JSONB or use a functional index that converts the JSON data to text.

5. Can I use the @> or <@ containment operators with the JSON data type?

No, the @> and <@ containment operators are specific to the JSONB data type and cannot be used with the JSON data type.

Great! You’ve successfully signed up.

Welcome back! You've successfully signed in.

You've successfully subscribed to

Success! Check your email for magic link to sign-in.

Success! Your billing info has been updated.

Your billing was not updated.