Posted by chris on May 27, 2000 at 11:45:00:
Please note that the state of residence of the tenant and the geographical number do not have to match. So before you think a prospective tenant is handing you a line of bull inquire about this. Here’s the detail on that-
The first set of three digits is called the Area Number
The second set of two digits is called the Group Number
The final set of four digits is the Serial Number
The Area Number is assigned by the geographical region. Prior to 1972, cards were issued in local Social Security offices around the country and the Area Number represented the State in which the card was issued. This did not necessarily have to be the State where the applicant lived, since a person could apply for their card in any Social Security office. Since 1972, when SSA began assigning SSNs and issuing cards centrally from Baltimore, the area number assigned has been based on the ZIP code in the mailing address provided on the application for the original Social Security card. The applicant’s mailing address does not have to be the same as their place of residence. Thus, the Area Number does not necessarily represent the State of residence of the applicant, either prior to 1972 or since.
Generally, numbers were assigned beginning in the northeast and moving westward. So people on the east coast have the lowest numbers and those on the west coast have the highest numbers.
One should not make too much of the “geographical code.” It is not meant to be any kind of useable geographical information. The numbering scheme was designed in 1936 (before computers) to make it easier for SSA to store the applications in files in Baltimore since the files were organized by regions as well as alphabetically. It was really just a bookkeeping device for internal use and was never intended to be anything more than that.