**A data structure** is a particular way of organizing data in a computer memory so that it can be used effectively. The main aim of data structure is to reduce the space and time complexities of different tasks. **The linear and non-linear data structures** are the sub-classification of the data structure which comes under the Non-primitive data structure.

## What Is A Linear Data Structure?

**Linear data structure**
is a type of data structure whereby data is arranged in a linear sequence; in
which elements are linked one after the other.
Data elements in a linear data structure are traversed one after the
other and only one element can be directly reached while traversing. Given that
linear data structures support single level storage; data elements can be
traversed in a single run only.

Linked list is a good example of linear data storage or structure. Linked list stores data in an organized linear fashion. They store data in the form of a list.

Other Examples of linear data structure include:

**Array**, which is a collection of data items having similar data types.**Queue**, which is a FIFO (First in First Out) data structure where the element that is added first will be deleted first.**Stack**, which is a FILO (First In Last Out) data structure where the element that is added first will be deleted last.

### What You Need To Know About Linear Data Structure

- Linear data structure is a type of data structure whereby data is arranged in a linear sequence; in which elements are linked one after the other.
- Linear data structure is easy to implement in computer’s memory since they are organized sequentially.
- Examples of linear data structure are array, queue, stack, linked list etc.
- In linear data structure, there is one to one relationship between data elements.
- Given that linear data structures support single level storage; data elements can be traversed in a single run only.
- Linear data structure implementation result in poor utilization of memory.
- In linear data structure, all data elements are present at a single level.
- Time complexity of linear data structure often increases with increase in size.

**Also Read: **Difference Between Stack And Queue Data Structures

## What Is Non-Linear Data Structure?

**Non-linear data
structure** is a type of data structure whereby data elements are
hierarchically connected and are present at various levels. What this means is
that, a data element of the non-linear data structure could be connected to
more than one element to reflect a special relationship among them. Given that
non-linear data structures support multi-level storage, they are not easy to
traverse in a single run; they require multiple runs to be completely
traversed.

Tree data structure is an example of a non linear data structure. A tree has one node referred to as root node that is the starting point that holds data and links to other nodes.

Another example of Non-linear is Graph. A Graph is a collection of a finite number of vertices and edges. Edges connect the vertices and represent the relationship between the vertices that connect these vertices.

### What You Need To Know About Non-Linear Data Structure

- Non-linear data structure is a type of data structure whereby data elements are hierarchically connected and are present at various levels.
- Non-linear data structure is difficult to implement in computer’s memory since the data element can be attached to various other data elements.
- Examples of non-linear data structure are tree and graph.
- In non-linear data structure, there may be one-to-one or one-to-many relationship between data elements.
- Given that non-linear data structures support multi-level storage, they are not easy to traverse in a single run; they require multiple runs to be completely traversed.
- Implementation of non-linear data structure result in efficient utilization of the memory.
- In non-linear data structure, data elements are present at multiple levels.
- Time complexity of non-linear data structures often remains unchanged with increase in size.

**Also Read: **Difference Between Min Heap And Max Heap

## Difference Between Linear And Non-Linear Data Structures In Tabular Form

BASIS OF COMPARISON |
LINEAR DATA STRUCTURE |
NON-LINEAR DATA STRUCTURE |

Description | Linear data structure is a type of data structure whereby data is arranged in a linear sequence; in which elements are linked one after the other. | Non-linear data structure is a type of data structure whereby data elements are hierarchically connected and are present at various levels. |

Implementation | It is easy to implement in computer’s memory since they are organized sequentially. | It is difficult to implement in computer’s memory since the data element can be attached to various other data elements. |

Examples | Examples of linear data structure are array, queue, stack, linked list etc. | Examples of non-linear data structure are tree and graph. |

Relationship Between Data
Elements | There is one to one relationship between data elements. | There may be one-to-one or one-to-many relationship between data elements. |

Traversal | Data elements can be traversed in a single run only. | They are not easy to traverse in a single run; they require multiple runs to be completely traversed. |

Memory Utilization | Linear data structure implementation result in poor utilization of memory. | Implementation of non-linear data structure result in efficient utilization of the memory. |

Data Elements | All data elements are present at a single level. | Data elements are present at multiple levels. |

Time Complexity | Time complexity of linear data structure often increases with increase in size. | Time complexity of non-linear data structures often remains unchanged with increase in size. |

**Also Read:** Difference Between Stack And Heap Data Structures