The social security number is the code you use to gain access to the untold wealth stolen from others who pay social security tax. Your share will probably be less than you would have wanted.

Also the secret number illegally used by many organizations in order to have a single identification number to unify their silly databases. Why would anyone need your SSN for anything but screwing you over?
Few people actually know how they (US Government) come up with our social security numbers. I did a little looking on line and found this out from sites all over.

The first three digits are the area numbers. These digits originally indicated the state where you applied for your first card. Now it is derived from the ZIP code in the mailing address on your application for a card. The first three digits of a valid number cannot begin with "000" or any number between "769 and 999". Likewise, the first three numbers cannot be all 1's, 3's, 8's or 9's.

The middle two digits are the group numbers. They have no special geographic or data significance but merely serve to break the number into conveniently sized blocks for orderly issuance.

The last four digits are the serial numbers. They represent a straight numerical sequence of numbers within the group.

It should also be noted that numbers assigned to alien taxpayers start with a "9" and are not valid numbers for securing work in the United States. In fact, the "9" indicates the person is not eligible for employment and hiring someone with one of these numbers can result in a fine for the employer.

Check out for more info

A real-life translation problem which arose today on a translators' mailing list: what is the Dutch for "social security number"?

Now, the Netherlands certainly has, along with coffee shops, windmills, bicycles and Indonesian restaurants, a social security system of some standing, and people who pay contributions have a number called, as it happens, the SOFI-nummer.

However, translation is not that simple a task and that is not the appropriate answer. We need to understand the context of the query. As it happened, what the translator was working on was a form for use by air travellers on an American airline who wished to report missing luggage.

Clearly, this is not an matter in which your social security payment record is particularly relevant. The airline, used to catering for domestic customers, who carry no identity cards or (for internal flights) passports but know their social security numbers by heart, was (leaving aside marketing conspiracies or commercial intelligence as a secondary consideration) presumably using this as a means of providing an unambiguous identifier for the people involved. The Dutch and Belgians may have social security reference numbers in a file somewhere, but the only purpose they serve is in dealings with the social security authorities and nobody actually knows their number without going to some lengths to look it up; conversely, they do extremely little in the way of passport-free domestic air travel and are required to carry identity documents at all times in any event.

Therefore the appropriate solution for the translator was to write a translator's note to point out to their client that the form required proper internationalization, perhaps with an field for the type of ID and another for its number.

It is this type of international communication issue that brightens up the otherwise sad lives of translators and allows us to feel that it will be a while yet before babelfish takes our jobs away.

In Finland, the social security number ("Sosiaaliturvatunnus", or SOTU), often referred to just as "person identifier" ("Henkilötunnus"), is defined in Väestötietoasetus, 2 § (Säädöskokoelma 886/1993, muutettu 84/1997).

It is formed using a rather simple formula. The social security number always has following parts:



  • DDMMYY is the day the person was born (using last two digits of the year, of course),
  • S is the separator,
  • PPP is the person number, and
  • C is the checksum.

The separator is

  • + for people born in 1800s,
  • - for people born in 1900s, and
  • A for people born in 2000s.

I guess (note: not know) the only really huge Y2K problem in Finland was that some programs may have assumed the separator was always '-'...

The person number is always even for females and odd for males. (Yes, this limits the "legal" maximum population growth to 999 per day... this is a small country, you know.)

The checksum is calculated thus:

  1. Take the birth date and person number, and join them to one 9-digit number a.
  2. Divide by 31 and take the remainder: n = a % 31.
  3. Pick the nth letter from string "0123456789ABCDEFHJKLMNPRSTUVWXY"

Information taken from sfnet.atk.ohjelmointi FAQ, condensed a bit...

The first three numbers in your American Social Security Number do have a significance, believe it or not. They are an indication of where your number was filed. Take me, for example: I was born in Buffalo, New York on October 9, 1980. But before my parents could file for my SSN the family moved to Pennsylvania. So everyone else in my family has a New York number whereas I have a Pennsylvania number.

Without further delay, here is the table of numbers...

Social Security Numbers Based On Geographical Location (Source:

Number Range  Geographical Area
001-003       New Hampshire
004-007       Maine
008-009       Vermont
010-034       Massachusetts
035-039       Rhode Island
040-049       Connecticut
050-134       New York
135-158       New Jersey
159-211       Pennsylvania
212-220       Maryland
221-222       Delaware
223-231       Virginia
691-699       Not Allocated
232-236       West Virginia
232           North Carolina
247-251       South Carolina
252-260       Georgia
261-267       Florida
268-302       Ohio
303-317       Indiana
318-361       Illinois
362-386       Michigan
387-399       Wisconsin
400-407       Kentucky
408-415       Tennessee
756-763       Not Allocated
416-424       Alabama
425-428       Mississippi
752-755       Not Allocated
429-432       Arkansas
433-439       Louisiana
440-448       Oklahoma
449-467       Texas
468-477       Minnesota
478-485       Iowa
486-500       Missouri
501-502       North Dakota
503-504       South Dakota
505-508       Nebraska
509-515       Kansas
516-517       Montana
518-519       Idaho
520           Wyoming
521-524       Colorado
525,585       New Mexico
526-527       Arizona
528-529       Utah
530           Nevada
531-539       Washington State
540-544       Oregon
545-573       California
574           Alaska
575-576       Hawaii
750-751       Not Allocated
577-579       District of Columbia
580           Virgin Islands
580-584       Puerto Rico
586           Guam
586           American Samoa
586           Philippine Islands
700-728       Railroad Board**
729-733       Enumeration at Entry
000           Will NEVER begin a SSN

**: Formerly issued only to railroad workers, but were discontinued July 1, 1963.

I am going to guess here and say that if a number range is listed below a state/territory with no assignment listed to the right, it belongs to the state or territory directly above it.

The original need arose for the SSN because Social Security benefits are dependent on Social Security contributions. This required the Social Security Administration to track every individual's earnings without ambiguity by assigning them a unique identifier, but the number was never intended to be a universal identifier. Because identification by name and birthdate is non-unique, however, information-gathering organizations at the beginning of the welfare state wanted a unique identifier but didn't want to spend money creating their own. Social Security Numbers filled the need, their usage spreading to government agencies unrelated to the SSA, libraries, schools, and hospitals.

The Internal Revenue Service tried to issue their own identifier in 1961, but they were told to use the SSN because their identification system would be too expensive.

Authorized Uses of Social Security Numbers

Source: Database Nation: The Death of Privacy in the 21st Century. Simson Garfinkel

1943 Federal agencies use SSN exclusively for employees.

1961 Civil Service Commission uses SSN as an employee identifier.

1962 Internal Revenue Service uses SSN as taxpayer identification.

1969 Department of Defense uses SSN as an Armed Forces identifier.

1972 U.S. begins issuing SSNs to anyone receiving or applying for federal benefits.

1975 AFDC (Aid for Families with Dependent Children) uses SSN for eligibility.

1976 States use SSN for tax and general public assistance identification and for driver's licenses.

1977 Food stamp program uses SSN for household member eligibility.

1981 School lunch program uses SSN for adult household member eligibility.

1981 Selective Service System uses SSN for draft registrants.

1982 Federal loan program uses SSN for applicants.

1983 SSN required for all holders of interest-bearing accounts.

1984 States authorized to require SSN for AFDC, Medicaid, unemployment compensation, food stamp programs, and state programs established under a plan approved under Title I, X, XIV, or XVI of the Social Security Act.

1986 SSN may be used as proof of employment eligibility.

1986 SSN required for taxpayer identification for tax dependents age five and over (effective for 1988 returns).

1986 Secretary of Transportation authorizes use of SSN for commercial motor vehicle operator's licenses.

1988 SSN required for taxpayer identification for tax dependents age two and over (effective for 1990 returns).

1988 States use parents' SSNs to issue birth certificates.

1988 States and/or blood donation facilities use SSN for blood donor identification.

1988 All Title II beneficiaries required to have SSN for eligibility.

1989 National Student Loan Data System includes SSN of borrowers.

1990 SSN required for taxpayer identification for tax dependents age one and over (effective for 1991 returns).

1990 SSN required for eligibility for all Department of Veterans Affairs payments.

1990 SSN required for officers of food and retail stores that redeem food stamps.

1994 Use of SSN authorized for jury selection.

1994 Use of SSN authorized by Department of Labor for claim identification numbers for worker's compensation claims.

1994 SSN required for taxpayer identification for tax dependents regardless of age (effective for 1996 returns).

1996 SSN required for any applicant for a professional license, commercial driver's license, occupational license, or marriage license (must be recorded on the application). The SSN of any person subject to a divorce decree, support order, or paternity determination or acknowledgment would have to be placed in the pertinent records. SSNs are required on death certificates.

1996 The Attorney General authorized to require any noncitizen to provide his or her SSN for inclusion in Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) records.

1996 Driver's licenses required to display an SSN.

The social security number is divided into three groups, the area number, which represents the first three digits, the group number, and the serial number. The first five digits of someone's number can be guessed (some states are easier then others, less populated states are easier to guess), however, the last four digits cannot. Applicants from the same state, and around the same age can easily share the first five digits of the social security number, especially if the applicant applies in a less populated state (Wyoming, Alaska, Montana, the Dakotas, to name a few). The area number reflects the state in which the person applied. Before 1972, the area number merely reflected the location of the social security office in which the person applied (a person who lives in Colorado goes on vacation to Texas. That person decides to apply for a social security number in an office in Texas. Although that person lives in Colorado, that person will receive a Texas number). After 1972, the area number reflects the location of the mailing address of the applicant. The zip code determines the area number (If a person applies for a number, using zip code 32611, which is in Florida, that person will receive a Florida social security number). Additionally, the area numbers within a state are assigned in numerical order within a group (the middle two digits). (The first area-group combination that was assigned in Iowa was 478-01, followed by 479-01, then 480-01, 481-01, 482-01, 483-01, 484-01, 485-01, then 478-03, 479-03.....).

The middle two digits, which are also known as the group number reflect when a person received a number. For each state, the group numbers assigned are different. The group numbers are not assigned in numerical order. All odd numbers below 10 are assigned first (01, 03, 05....), then all even numbers 10 and above are assigned (10, 12, 14.....98), then all even numbers below 10 are assigned (02, 04, 06, 08), then all odd numbers above 10 are assigned (11, 13, 15....99). People, who are the same age will likely have the same middle two digits (or similar) within a state. However, all states are different, (someone who received an Ohio number in 1990 will likely have the group number "92", someone who received a Pennsylvania number in 1990 will likely have a group number of "72", and someone in North Carolina in 1990 will likely have a group number of "67" or "69". Before 1965, only half of the group numbers (low odd numbers, and high even numbers) were used, which required a few states to add an extra area number (Mississippi had to add 587, and New Mexico added 585). In 1965, the low evens, and high odd group numbers were allowed. Also, the middle two digits can determine whether that number is valid. On the SSA website, high groups are displayed for every area number. The high group means that the group was the latest group that has been assigned. For example, if the high group of an area number was 92, then a social security number with the group number of 04 would not be valid, because 04 in that group number had not been assigned yet.

Also, some states exhausted their original number assignments, which required a new series of numbers for that state, which is why some states have a non-continuous set of area numbers (Arizona was the first state to exhaust their original assignment. They were assigned 526-527. After the area-group combinations of 526-99 and 527-99 were assigned, new numbers had to be assigned. Therefore, the SSA assigned area numbers 600-601 to Arizona). Every social security number assigned before March of 1983 began with a "5", or below.

Also, the area number "000" will not be assigned, and is not valid. Also "666" is not valid either. However, 111 (New York), 222 (Delaware), 333 (Illinois), 444 (Oklahoma), and 555 (California) are all valid area numbers. As of 2009, no area numbers are above "772". Also, area numbers between 734-749 are not valid numbers. California will likely exhaust it's current series of 602-626 in 2013, which will lead to an additional series of numbers being assigned. The group number "00" is also not valid, and the serial number "0000" is not valid.

The assignments are as follows (also written are the period of time issued, and high group number as of April 2009. If a social security number is presented outside of the high group, it is invalid! For example 001-15-xxxx is invalid, since 08 is the latest group number issued).

001-003 New Hampshire (1936-present) High Group: 08 for 001, 06 for 002-003
004-007 Maine (1936-present) High Group: 11 for 004-005, 08 for 006-007
008-009 Vermont (1936-present) High Group: 92
010-034 Massachusetts (1936-present) High Group: 92 for 010-021, 90 for 022-034
035-039 Rhode Island (1936-present) High Group: 74 for 035, 72 for 036-039
040-049 Connecticut (1936-present) High Group: 13 for 040-047, 11 for 048-049
050-134 New York (1936-present) High Group: 98 for 050-094, 96 for 095-134
135-158 New Jersey (1936-present) High Group: 21 for 135-148, 19 for 149-158
159-211 Pennsylvania (1936-present) High Group: 84 for 159-208, 82 for 209-211
212-220 Maryland (1936-present) High Group: 83
221-222 Delaware (1936-present) High Group: 08
223-231 Virginia (1936-November 2004) High Group:99 (exhausted)
691-699 Virginia (November 2004-present) High Group: 12 for 691-692, 10 for 693-699
232 West Virginia and North Carolina (but now West Virginia, 1936-present) High Group:55
233-236 West Virginia (1936-present) High Group: 55 for 233-235, 53 for 236
237-246 North Carolina (1936-October 2002) High Group: 99 (exhausted)
681-690 North Carolina (October 2002-present) High Group: 18 for 681-685, 16 for 686-690
247-251 South Carolina (1936-November 1996) High Group: 99 (exhausted)
654-658 South Carolina (November 1996-present) High Group: 32 for 654, 30 for 655-658
252-260 Georgia (1936-October 1997) High Group: 99 (exhausted)
667-675 Georgia (October 1997-present) High Group: 40
261-267 Florida (1936-September 1980) High Group: 99 (exhausted)
589-595 Florida (September 1980-March 2001) High Group: 99 (exhausted)
766-772 Florida (March 2001-present) High Group 80 for 766-770, 78 for 771-772
268-302 Ohio (1936 present) High Group: 15 for 268-277, 13 for 278-302
303-317 Indiana (1936-present) High Group: 35 for 303-304, 33 for 305-317
318-361 Illinois (1936-present) High Group: 08 for 318-341, 06 for 342-361
362-386 Michigan (1936-present) High Group: 37 for 362-363, 35 for 364-386
387-399 Wisconsin (1936-present) High Group: 31 for 387-393, 29 for 394-399
400-407 Kentucky (1936-present) High Group: 71 for 400-401, 69 for 402-407
408-415 Tennessee (1936-July 2005) High Group: 99 (exhausted)
756-763 Tennessee (July 2005-present) High Group: 09 for 756-759, 07 for 760-763
416-424 Alabama (1936-present) High Group: 65 for 416-418, 63 for 419-424
425-428 Mississippi (1936-October 2006): High Group 99 (exhausted)
587 Mississippi (1964-December 2006): High Group 99 (exhausted)
588 Mississippi (December 2006-present) High Group: 05
752-755 Mississippi (February 2007-present) High Group: 03
429-432 Arkansas (1936-January 2001) High Group: 99 (exhausted)
676-679 Arkansas (January 2001-present) High Group: 18 for 676, 16 for 677-679
433-439 Louisiana (1936-October 1999) High Group: 99 (exhausted)
659-665 Louisiana (October 1999-present) High Group: 18
440-448 Oklahoma (1936-present) High Group: 25 for 440-446, 23 for 447-448
449-467 Texas (1936-August 1988) High Group: 99 (exhausted)
627-645 Texas (August 1988-present) High Group:19 for 627-641, 17 for 642-645
468-477 Minnesota (1936-present) High Group: 53 for 468-473, 51 for 474-477
478-485 Iowa (1936-present) High Group:39 for 478-484, 37 for 485
486-500 Missouri (1936-present) High Group: 27 for 486-495, 25 for 496-500
501-502 North Dakota (1936-present) High Group: 35 for 501, 33 for 502
503-504 South Dakota (1936-present) High Group: 43 for 503, 41 for 504
505-508 Nebraska (1936-present) High Group: 55 for 505-506, 53 for 507-508
509-515 Kansas (1936-present) High Group: 29 for 509-515
516-517 Montana (1936-present) High Group: 47 for 516, 45 for 517
518-519 Idaho (1936-present) High Group: 83 for 518, 81 for 519
520 Wyoming (1936-present) High Group: 57
521-524 Colorado (1936-June 1996) High Group: 99 (exhausted)
650-653 Colorado (June 1996-present) High Group: 54 for 650, 52 for 651-653
525 New Mexico (1936-June 1993) High Group: 99 (exhausted)
585 New Mexico (1959-September 1993) High Group: 99 (exhausted)
648-649 New Mexico (September 1993-present) High Group: 50
526-527 Arizona (1936-March 1983) High Group: 99 (exhausted)
600-601 Arizona (March 1983-July 2000) High Group: 99 (exhausted)
764-765 Arizona (July 2000-present) High Group: 04 for 764, 02 for 765
528-529 Utah (1936-May 1990) High Group: 99 (exhausted)
646-647 Utah (May 1990-present) High Group: 08
530 Nevada (1936-April 1997) High Group: 99 (exhausted)
680 Nevada (April 1997-present) High Group: 11
531-539 Washington (1936-present) High Group: 67 for 531, 65 for 532-539
540-544 Oregon (1936-present) High Group: 77 for 540-544
545-573 California (1936-September 1987) High Group: 99 (exhausted)
602-626 California (September 1987-present) High Group: 75 for 602-613, 73 for 614-626
574 Alaska (1936-present) High Group: 55
575-576 Hawaii (1936-August 2004) High Group: 99 (exhausted)
750-751 Hawaii (August 2004-present) High Group: 14 for 750, 12 for 751
577-579 Washington DC (1936-present) High Group: 49 for 577, 47 for 578-579
580 Virgin Islands (1936-present) High Group: 39
581-584 Puerto Rico (1936-February 1985) High Group: 99 (exhausted)
596-599 Puerto Rico (February 1985-present) High Group: 88 for 596-598, 86 for 599
585 (see New Mexico 525)
586 Somoa/Philipines/Guam (1964-present) High Group 63
587 Mississippi (see Mississippi 425-428)
588 Mississippi (see Mississippi 425-428, 587)
589-595 Florida(see Florida 261-267)
596-599 Puerto Rico (see Puerto Rico 581-584)
600-601 Arizona (see Arizona, 526-527)
602-626 California (see California 545-573)
627-645 Texas (see Texas 449-467)
646-647 Utah (see Utah 528-529)
648-649 New Mexico (see New Mexico 525, 585)
650-653 Colorado (see Colorado 521-524)
654-658 South Carolina (see South Carolina 247-251)
659-665 Louisiana (see Louisiana 433-439)
666-not assigned
667-675 Georgia (see Georgia 252-260)
676-679 Arkansas (see Arkansas 429-432)
680 Nevada (see Nevada 530)
681-690 North Carolina (see North Carolina 237-246)
691-699 Virginia (see Virginia 223-231)
700-728 Railroad Workers (1936-July 1963, but could be 1964) High Group: 18 for 700-726, 10 for 727, and 14 for 728
729-733 Enumeration at Entry (2003-present) High Group: 16 for 729-731, 14 for 732-733
734-749 unassigned
750-751 Hawaii (see Hawaii 575-576)
752-755 Mississippi (see Mississippi 425-428, 587, 588)
756-763 Tennessee (see Tennessee 408-415)
764-765 Arizona (see Arizona 526-527)
766-772 Florida (see Florida 261-267)
773-899 unassigned, for future use
900-999 unassigned

Note: There are tax ID numbers that start with a "9". They also have a "7" or an "8" as the fourth digit (first of the middle two).

Until 1959, all area numbers were 584 and below
Until 1964, all area numbers were 585 and below
Until 1980, all area numbers were 587 and below
Until 1983, all area numbers were 596 and below. In March of 1983, the first social security numbers that began with a "6" were issued in Arizona).
In 2000, the social security numbers that began with a "7" were issued, also in Arizona.

Keep in mind, these facts do not include the Railroad Workers, as their numbers were between 700-728.

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