ISO 3166-1 numeric
ISO 3166-1 numeric (or numeric-3) codes are three-digit country codes defined in ISO 3166-1, part of the ISO 3166 standard published by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO), to represent countries, dependent territories, and special areas of geographical interest. They are similar to the three-digit country codes developed and maintained by the United Nations Statistics Division, from which they originate in its UN M.49 standard. They were first included as part of the ISO 3166 standard in its second edition in 1981, but they were released by the United Nations Statistics Division since as early as 1970.
An advantage of numeric codes over alphabetic codes is script (writing system) independence. The ISO 3166-1 alphabetic codes (alpha-2 and alpha-3) use letters from the 26-letter English alphabet and are suitable for languages based on the Latin alphabet. For people and systems using non-Latin scripts (such as Arabic, Bengali, Chinese, Cyrillic, Devanagari, Greek, Georgian, Armenian, Canadian Aboriginal Syllabics, Tibetan script, Ge'ez, Hangul, Hebrew and Japanese), the English alphabet may be unavailable or difficult to use, understand, or correctly interpret. While numeric codes overcome the problems of script dependence, this independence comes at the cost of loss of mnemonic convenience.
Another advantage is that when countries merge or split, they will get a new numeric code, while the alphabetic code stays in use for (a part of) that country. A persistent number is needed in datasets with historical country information.
Officially assigned code elements
The following is a complete list of the current officially assigned ISO 3166-1 numeric codes, using the English short country names officially used by the ISO 3166 Maintenance Agency (ISO 3166/MA):
User-assigned code elements
User-assigned code elements are codes at the disposal of users who need to add further names of countries, territories, or other geographical entities to their in-house application of ISO 3166-1, and the ISO 3166/MA will never use these codes in the updating process of the standard. The numeric codes 900 to 999 can be user-assigned.
When countries merge, split, or undergo territorial change, their numeric codes are withdrawn and new numeric codes are assigned. For example:
- East Germany and West Germany used numeric codes 278 and 280 respectively before their unification in 1990. Since then, the unified Germany has used numeric code 276, while keeping the alphabetic codes for West Germany.
- Ethiopia used numeric code 230 before Eritrea split away in 1993. Since then, Ethiopia has used numeric code 231, while keeping the same alphabetic codes.
- Sudan used numeric code 736 before South Sudan split away in 2011. Since then, Sudan has used numeric code 729, while keeping the same alphabetic codes.
If a country changes its name without any territorial change, its numeric code remains the same. For example, when Burma was renamed Myanmar without territorial change in 1989, its alphabetic codes were changed, but its numeric code 104 has remained the same.
The following numeric codes have been withdrawn from ISO 3166-1:
The following numeric codes were also assigned by the United Nations Statistics Division, but these territories were never officially included in ISO 3166-1:
|274||Gaza Strip (Palestine)|
|282||German Democratic Republic, Berlin|
|284||Germany, West Berlin|
|728||Spanish North Africa (note: this code is now used by South Sudan)|
In the UN M.49 standard developed by the United Nations Statistics Division, additional numeric codes are used to represent geographical regions and groupings of countries and areas for statistical processing purposes, but these codes are not included in ISO 3166-1. Unlike alphabetic codes, there are no reserved numeric codes in ISO 3166-1.
- "Appendix 1. United Nations Standard Country Codes" (PDF). Cancer Registration: Principles and Methods, IARC Scientific Publication No. 95. International Agency for Research on Cancer. 1991. pp. 208–211.
- "ISO 3166 – FAQs – General questions". International Organization for Standardization (ISO).
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- Clive Feather (2003-07-25). "Country codes in ISO 3166 (Table 2: codes withdrawn from use)".
- ISO 3166 Maintenance Agency, International Organization for Standardization (ISO)
- Standard Country or Area Codes for Statistical Use, United Nations Statistics Division
- Countries or areas, codes and abbreviations — list of alpha-3 and numeric codes (a few territories officially assigned codes in ISO 3166-1 are not included in this list)
- Composition of macro geographical (continental) regions, geographical sub-regions, and selected economic and other groupings
- Country or area numerical codes added or changed since 1982
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- Appendix D – Cross-Reference List of Country Data Codes — comparison of FIPS 10, ISO 3166, and STANAG 1059 country codes
- Administrative Divisions of Countries ("Statoids"), Statoids.com