Sweden ‘running out of personal numbers’

Sweden is running out of personal identification numbers, the Swedish tax authority has warned.

Every Swedish resident has a 10-digit personal number, which is used as identity when communicating with authorities.

Personal numbers contain people’s date of birth and indicate the person’s gender. Each number is unique to the individual. The birthday and gender information may soon have to disappear in order to free up more numbers.

There are currently around 15 dates of birth for which personal numbers are lacking. They are mainly those for people born on 1st January or 1st July in certain years in the 1950s and 1960s. The reason for this is that immigrants without documentation to prove their dates of birth are often assigned these dates by Swedish authorities.

The problem has become more acute as immigration has increased. The tax authority, which administers personal numbers, has applied for the government’s permission to give numbers that are not based on date of birth. The plan is only to do this for certain adults who move to Sweden, the authority said.