Social Security Number Prefixes by State

The Social Security number (SSN) is a nine-digit number issued to U.S. citizens, permanent residents, and temporary (working) residents. The number is divided into three parts: the area number (first three digits), the group number (middle two digits), and the serial number (last four digits). The area number (or prefix) is tied the location of the Social Security office that issued the number.

For Social Security Numbers issued prior to 1972, you may use the search box below to determine the Social Security Office that issued the number.

Social Security Number Breakdown

The Social Security number (SSN) is broken down into the area number (first 3 digits), the group number (the middle two digits), and the serial number (the last four digits.

1. Area Number (Prefix)

  • The first three digits of the SSN are known as the area number. Historically, this number was tied to the geographical region where the SSN was issued.
  • Prior to 1972, the area number was based on the location of the Social Security office that issued the number.
  • From 1972 to 2011, the area number reflected the ZIP code of the mailing address on the SSN application.
  • Since 2011, the Social Security Administration (SSA) has used a randomized method to assign SSNs, making the area number no longer indicative of the state of issuance.

Assigning a Social Security Number

Initial Issuance

  • At Birth: Most people in the U.S. receive their SSN at birth. Hospitals typically provide parents with a birth registration form, which includes an option to apply for the child's SSN.
  • Application Process: If the SSN is not assigned at birth, parents or guardians can apply for a number at a later date through the SSA.

Application Requirements

  • U.S. Citizens: Must provide proof of identity, age, and U.S. citizenship (e.g., birth certificate, passport).
  • Non-Citizens: Must provide documents proving their immigration status, work eligibility, and identity (e.g., visa, work permit).

Assignment and Issuance

  • The SSA verifies the provided documents.
  • An SSN is then assigned, and the Social Security card is mailed to the applicant.
  • The SSN is unique and remains with the individual for their entire life.

Changes Over Time

In 2011, the SSA implemented "randomization" to help protect the integrity of the SSN and extend its longevity. This means that area numbers no longer reflect geographical regions, making it more difficult to determine where an SSN was issued based solely on its prefix.


The first three digits of the SSN were once tied to the state of issuance but have been randomized since 2011.

  • SSNs are typically assigned at birth but can be applied for later.
  • The assignment involves verification of identity, age, and citizenship or immigration status.
  • SSNs are unique and lifelong identifiers.

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