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social security numbers on campus cards

The anatomy of a social security number

The nine-digit number has been used since 1936 to track a person’s wages for the purpose of accruing benefits within the Social Security Administration. The number has three sections:

Area numbers

The first three digits of the SSN are called the area numbers. This is because they originally corresponded to the state that a person lived in at the time they were issued their SSN. Beginning in 1972, the area numbers began being assigned based upon the zip code in the mailing address to which the individual requested his or her card to be sent. Thus, it is possible for someone to reside in one state but ask that the card be returned to another state, thus rendering the area number less than “area specific.”

Group numbers

Digits four and five in the SSN are referred to as group numbers. They are used to identify the block of numbers currently being issued. As an example, the SSNs 123-01-0001 through 123-01-9999 would all be issued before moving on to the next group number.

Serial numbers

Digits six through nine are known as serial numbers. They are issued consecutively from 0001 to 9999.

What can be learned about a person simply be dissecting their social security number? Not much. Only the state in which they lived when they applied for the number for those issued prior to 1972 and the state noted in the return address for those applied for after 1972. If you were so inclined, however, by memorizing the following table you would likely correctly “guess” the majority of people’s birth states knowing only the first three digits of their SSN. It wouldn’t get you much but it might win you some free beers in a “stupid bar tricks” competition.

SSN area numbers assigned by states

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 Virginia
232-236 West Virginia
232 North Carolina
237-246 North Carolina
681-690 North Carolina
247-251 South Carolina
654-658 South Carolina
252-260 Georgia
667-675 Georgia
261-267 Florida
589-595 Florida
766-772 Florida
268-302 Ohio
303-317 Indiana
318-361 Illinois
362-386 Michigan
387-399 Wisconsin
400-407 Kentucky
408-415 Tennessee
756-763 Tennessee
416-424 Alabama
425-428 Mississippi
587-588 Mississippi
752-755 Mississippi
429-432 Arkansas
676-679 Arkansas
433-439 Louisiana
659-665 Louisiana
440-448 Oklahoma
449-467 Texas
627-645 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
650-653 Colorado
525,585 New Mexico
648-649 New Mexico
526-527 Arizona
600-601 Arizona
764-765 Arizona
528-529 Utah
646-647 Utah
530 Nevada
680 Nevada
531-539 Washington
540-544 Oregon
545-573 California
602-626 California
574 Alaska
575-576 Hawaii
750-751 Hawaii
577-579 DC
580 Virgin Islands
580-584 Puerto Rico
596-599 Puerto Rico
586 Guam
586 American Samoa
586 Philippine Islands
700-728 Railroad Board

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