Data for Enumeration AccuracyLast updated on August 24, 2016
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The Social Security Administration (SSA) is responsible for the assigning of Social Security numbers, a process called enumeration. SSA issues a Social Security card (original and any later replacement) to each individual assigned a Social Security number.
Most new numbers result from a process called enumeration at birth which allows parents to apply for a Social Security number for a newborn child while in the hospital in conjunction with their State’s Bureau of Vital Records. Other new numbers are the result of applications made in person at our local offices or from a process known as enumeration at entry which allows qualified immigrants to apply for a Social Security number as part of their entry into the United States.
We monitor the quality of our enumeration process by reviewing a sample of completed enumeration (new number) actions. We produce accuracy rates based on these reviews by dividing the projected number of correctly assigned Social Security numbers by the total projected sample population.
We consider the Social Security number correctly assigned when:
- The individual did not receive a Social Security number that belongs to someone else;
- The individual does not receive more than one Social Security number; and
- The individual is eligible to receive a Social Security number based on supporting documentation.
A Social Security number is important because you need it to get a job, collect Social Security benefits, and receive some other government services. Many other businesses, such as banks and credit companies, also ask for the number. If you are a noncitizen living in the United States, you also may need a Social Security number.
You can find a description of SSA’s enumeration process and details on how to apply for a card depending on your specific circumstances at:
This dataset provides data at the national level from federal fiscal year 2006 onwards for the accuracy of the assignment of Social Security numbers (SSN) based on an end-of-line sample review of transactions that result in the release of SSN cards from one of the following processes.
- Social Security Field Offices or Card Centers — the public visits the field office or card center to request an original SSN in person,
- Enumeration at Birth process — an automated process that works in conjunction with the state’s Bureau of Vital Statistics to assign SSNs to newborns, or
- Enumeration at Entry process — an automated process that works in conjunction with the Departments of State and Homeland Security that assigns SSNs to qualified immigrants
We are providing the data by fiscal year for each of the three processes, and the agency’s total. The data includes the number of sample cases, the projected universe for each process, the number of errors, the number of errors projected to the universe for each process, the accuracy rates for each process, and the agency’s total. After the annual sample for 2015 was completed, we changed to a triennial review. Therefore, there is no data for 2016 and 2017 and, beginning with 2018, data will be available every three years (e.g., 2018, 2021, etc.).
We identify, and review for errors, a sample of applications filed for original Social Security Cards. We derive the accuracy percentage by using a statistically valid sample of approximately 600 field office and card center transactions, 300 Enumeration at Birth Transactions, and 600 Enumeration at Entry transactions for original Social Security Numbers assigned in the fiscal year.
Field A: Fiscal Year, a 12 month period from October through September
Field B: Process, Source of SSN
- SSA Field Offices: SSNs assigned through the Social Security field offices or card centers
- Enumeration at Birth: Automated enumeration process used to assign SSNs to newborns
- Enumeration at Entry: Automated enumeration process used to assign SSNs to immigrants
- Total: Combined figures for the three processes
Field C: Sample, Sample size for review after exclusions
Field D: Projected Population, Sample size projected to the enumeration population
Field E: Errors, Number of errors from the actual sample
Field F: Projected Errors, Errors from the sample projected to the enumeration population
Field G: Accuracy, Percentage derived by dividing the projected number of correctly assigned SSNs by the total projected sample population in each process.
Accuracy rates represent a mean value of the upper and lower limits of a calculated variability range. The mathematical formula used to establish these limits considers the size of the sample and the accuracy rate found. The formula uses a mathematical calculation to produce a variability range acceptable at a 95-percent confidence level.
All accuracy percentage rates are weighted to reflect the data as they would appear if the total workload had been reviewed.
Individual identifiers have been removed from all records reviewed and other distinguishing characteristics have been modified to prevent identification of persons to whom a record pertains.
For information about requesting an original SSN or replacement card go to
For Information about processing time for enumeration at birth go to
For information about how long it takes to get a replacement Social Security card go to
For information about the random assignment of SSNs go to
For information about SSN verification services go to