Is Zero an Integer?

Instructor: Rayna Cummings

Rayna has taught Elementary Education for 12 years (in both 1st, 2nd, and 3rd grades) and holds a M.Ed in Early Childhood Education from The Ohio State University

Counting up and down from zero is fun to do. In this lesson, you will learn about integers, the types of integers, and if zero is even an integer at all.

What is an Integer?

Quickly count the numbers from 1 to 20. No problem, right? Well, you just counted integers. An integer is any whole number such as the numbers you counted. Any number you count such as 1, 50, 100, 100,000 are all integers. However, neither fractions nor numbers that are displayed in decimal form are integers because they are not a whole number - rather, they are part of a whole. So, numbers like 1/2 or 3.14 are not integers.

Types of Integers

Now that you know what integers are, let's look at the types of integers.

The first type of integers are positive integers. These are the numbers you count up from starting at 1 and that have a positive or increasing value. Even when you are skip counting to 100 by 5's, you are using positive integers because your values are increasing by 5 each time until you get to 100.

Example of positive integers on a number line
positive integers

The second type of integers are negative integers. These are the numbers that have a negative sign in front of them and begin with -1 (negative one). Any whole number that is less than zero and has a negative sign or minus sign in front of the number is known as a negative integer.

Example of negative integers on a number line
negative integers


Now let's think about this for a second: if numbers counting up from zero are positive integers and numbers counting down from zero are negative integers, what is zero?

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