Talk:House numbering

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Odd versus even numbers[edit]

This could end up being a very fascinating article - you just don't find info like this anywhere else!

I have made some additions, and also removed this line: Sometimes odd numbers are on the left, sometimes they are on the right; there does not appear to be any pattern.

This doesn't make sense, as the side of the street would depend on which way you were facing. Also, it isn't clear whether this relates to Australia specifically (as it is just after the Australia paragraph) or all house numbering in general. -- Chuq 01:11, 5 Nov 2004 (UTC)

Sometimes odd numbers are on the left, sometimes they are on the right; there does not appear to be any pattern. The writer forgot to include "when facing in the direction that the numbers increase". In some cities with grids aligned with NSEW the odd/even rule may be related to compass direction. In areas where the rules are applied consistantly, knowing them can save time getting to an address. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 08:22, 28 February 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I was under the impression (that generally) odd number addresses were on the North side of an East-West street, and on the West side of North-South streets. While this may or may not hold true for dense housing areas, or for streets that do not run along compass lines, this is one of the general rules of US/Canadian cartography. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 23:17, 9 October 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I've lived in cities with all four possible odd/even rules. At the boundary of Oakland and Berkeley, California, all the numbering rules change: in (that part of) Oakland the addresses count from the south and east, with odd numbers on the west and south, and in Berkeley they count from the north and west with odd numbers on the east and north. —Tamfang (talk) 23:25, 19 October 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]
In my county in Florida, it is odd on the east side, but odd on the south side. A bit confusing when the street changes direction! Student7 (talk) 16:13, 4 February 2010 (UTC)Reply[reply]

North America[edit]

Could someone please explain, more clearly, the system of numbering based on the distance from a meridian? Dainamo 13:47, 23 Mar 2005 (UTC)

I dunno. Speaking as an USian, it is unintelligible to me. olderwiser 00:32, Mar 24, 2005 (UTC)
My apologies for not being clearer. What I mean is that, for example, a city might divide itself into four quadrants, perhaps with the north-south and east-west division lines running through the town square. An address of 500 Oak Street N.E. might be 500 meters or five blocks east of the north-south meridian. This particular system is used in Washington, DC, with the meridians meeting in the Capitol rotunda. For a jurisdiction with static boundaries, like a county, planners might use edges of the jurisdiction as the starting points for addressing. If you can think of a better way to explain this, please edit away. -- Mwalcoff 20:39, 24 Mar 2005 (UTC)
Perhaps the confusion is due to the use of the term meridian, which has a very specific geographical meaning that seems to be used somewhat loosely here. If I understand what you mean, I think it is simply a Cartesian coordinate system, in which the house numbers grow larger as you move farther from the origin. olderwiser 01:27, Mar 25, 2005 (UTC)
My mistake, I guess. What is the correct term, then? "Baseline?" "Axis?" -- Mwalcoff 12:57, 25 Mar 2005 (UTC)
I have seen an odd "baseline" system in rural parts of the Midwest. Someone's address might be: 485W 350N Placeville, IA 52999 (for example.) As I understand it, this means the house is 4.85 miles west and 3.5 miles north of town hall, the center of the county, or some other landmark. The street would be known as 350N, meaning any point on the street is 3.5 miles north of said landmark. (Roads in the Midwest tend to be straight.) I know this system is in use around Valparaiso, Indiana. I think it's also found in parts of Iowa and Nebraska, among other locations. 19:26, 30 March 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I've seen these referred to as "fire numbers", because they were imposed by the volunteer fire department, displacing the traditional street address (the mailing address was always just "route 1"). When the volunteer fire department disbanded and fire protection was taken over by the nearest city, the "fire numbers" were changed to reflect the "baseline" they used (which was further away). Numbers were placed on the buildings by the city. Rbean (talk) 23:09, 25 October 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Perhaps the confusion is due to the use of the term meridian. Meridian has a particular meaning in land surveying, especially in the Midwest. The east-west version is the 'baseline'. Isaac (talk) 22:42, 18 February 2014 (UTC)Reply[reply]


In Portugal (at least Lisbon) many houses have several numbers. AFAICT, each groundfloor window, i.e. anything that can potentially become a door, has its own number. Does anybody know more? Zocky 18:27, 18 Apr 2005 (UTC)

Color addresses with ASCII address labels[edit]

Explain what the six series stuff is.
Say how one is to write the colored addresses with black and white ASCII.
Mention Salt Lake City street names...
Mention Edmonton AB centered at 101 St. and 101 Av.
Wish it was 250 & 750...

Chinese road # lane # alley # addresses are smart: [dead link]
--jidanni — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 09:05, 28 January 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Much ado about simple sequences[edit]

In much of North America, buildings are not numbered according to a simple sequence but rather according to distance from a given baseline.

Isn't that as a "simple sequence," albeit with big numbers? In my county Rockland County, New York (NYC metro area), and surrounding areas, house numbering seems to follow the European system, so I have a bit of an issue as to how much "much of North America" is. -HiFiGuy 07:48, 29 January 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]

The difference between the "simple sequence" and the "American system" is that the "simple sequence" goes 1, 3, 5, 7, while the "American system" might go 100, 230, 380, 520... depending on how far the buildings are away from each other. Or it might go 100, 102, 104... but then jump to 200 at the first cross street. In my experience, the "American system" is used just about everywhere outside of the Northeast. Even in Manhattan, the east-west streets go up 100 for every numbered avenue. -- Mwalcoff 17:24, 29 January 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]
In my experience, the Midwest follows the second rule you mention (thus 501, 503, 505, 507, 511, 513, [street], 601, 603 ...) but the West Coast follows something like the first. —Tamfang (talk) 18:33, 29 July 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Utility pole numbering[edit]

In Quebec, telephone or hydro poles have a number marked on them that is related to building addresses. This might be worth mentioning in a section called 'Related'
I hereby call upon Wikipedeans to rise from their computers and check out their local utility poles! Pendragon39 15:46, 2 June 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]

This also occurs in Melbourne, tho sometimes they have an independent numbering system. Just something I’ve noticed, I’ve never bothered to work out any rhyme or reason. (Probably depends on whatever council it’s in.) —Felix the Cassowary 09:39, 23 August 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Darn I wish I could remember where I read an essay about using utility boxes to navigate in Taiwan. —Tamfang 22:52, 23 August 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Famous block[edit]

What is so special about the 1600s block on Pennsylvania Ave, and why does the assertion that it’s ‘probably the most famous block number in the world’ need to be on this article, without actually saying anything about it? —Felix the Cassowary 09:39, 23 August 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]

The White House is at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. N.W. You're right; it's not a very good sentence. -- Mwalcoff 22:31, 23 August 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]


Can I suggest an area for expansion. I cannot quote references for this, but somebody might like to follow it up.

In Europe the system of house numbering was initiated by Napolean in the lands he conquered, along with many other standardisations such as the metric system. Previous to Napolean houses were mostly named. According to the Napoleonic system, numbering starts at the end of a street nearest the centre of a town, with odd numbers (1,3,...) on the left, and even numbers (2,4,...) on the right.

NOTE: This is not the way you state in the article, please examine a few British streets.

This origin explains why in Britain this system was not adopted for a long time. The traditional British system was to number up one side and back down the other. The Napoleonic system has the advantage that as towns grow, additional number can be added, with the old British system this is not possible. Many older towns in Britain still retain the old system in the centre (e.g. London and the example you quote for Downing Street), but use the new system for streets built after the beginning of the 20th century. There are some examples where the older end of a street is numbered with the old system, but the newer end, containing houses built after the First World war is numbered with the new system. (P.S., I grew up in a town with such streets.)

TiffaF 08:09, 18 September 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I agree that the text in the article about British numbering: the lowest numbers at the end of the street closest to the town centre, probably applies not just to Brittain but to most or all of the world. (talk) 16:09, 20 January 2011 (UTC) Martin.Reply[reply]

UK House names[edit]

After moving to the UK, I found that hose numbering isn't widely used. Instead, buildings are often referred to by street name and, sometimes, house name. Can anyone include the reasons for this in the article? -- 01:32, 16 October 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I'm not sure where you're living, but house numbers are widely used throughout the UK. Buildings might casually be referred to by street name, but only the most important buildings could have an address without a number. The exception is that in some rural areas, houses have never been numbered, and are instead referred to by name. Warofdreams talk 03:24, 16 October 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]
There is some truth with many in-town businesses, especially stores who do not always give the number they are at along a main shopping street. eg: XYZ Clothing, High Street, Trumpton. This can be annoying in large towns. Even when a number is given, there are not always numbers displayed on other businesses making it hard to work out which direction one should be walking or driving to find the damn place. Dainamo — Preceding undated comment added 18:32, 29 January 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

"Some rural areas" is a little naive; there are many places with no numbering in certain roads, including many cul-de-sacs and leafy suburbs in towns and cities. Even when roads have numbered houses, many residents also have given a name to their house, e.g. "Dunroamin, 29 Acacia Avenue" and the sign on the door or gate may say "Dunroamin - 29". (talk) 22:31, 15 March 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]

This is about cases where house numbering is not used, so the fact that many people like to come up with a name for their house is irrelevant. Roads in urban areas without numbers are extremely rare; almost every town has had a programme of street numbering at some point over the past hundred years. In fact, if you have any notable examples, they might be worth mentioning in the article, due to their rarity. Warofdreams talk 10:14, 16 March 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Um, I wouldn't have said it was that unusual. My family originates in Ruthin, north Wales - modern estates are numbered, OK (I'm thinking of the 1970s estate my brother lives on), and ex-council estates, and suchlike, but many other streets have never been numbered (including the street my mother lived on). Take a look at the postcode finder on and do a search for "Greenfield Road, Ruthin" (LL15), a street of 1930s houses - it comes up with 45 addresses, only 2 of which contain a number (and they're for a side-branch) and for the neighbouring "Bryn Goodman, Ruthin" - there is a number 4, but the other 23 addresses are all names only. It seems there's a formal procedure for officially changing house names - I noticed when we were selling my mothers' house after her death there was a space on the conveyancing documentation to do this, and the purchaser changed "Garth" to "Cnoc na Righ" (though why someone woould change the name of a house in Wales to an Irish name stumps me; anyway, I hear the house has been sold again and it's been changed back to "Garth"!). -- Arwel Parry (talk) 22:12, 6 November 2010 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Houses which only have a name (but always a road name) are commonplace throughout the UK. They are usually larger houses (or larger land plots). For example virtually all farmhouses have only a name, as do a large number of high-value houses (£2M+?) in the more affluent suburbs of a town or provincial city. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 11:51, 29 July 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]

San Francisco[edit]

Large groups of streets have increasing numbers in the same direction -- increasing from the Bay, from Market Street, from the Presidio, etc. Masonic and Broderick are in the area of transition between a Market Street Group, and a Presedio group. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 08:22, 28 February 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]


Who assigns house numbers in the various countries of the world? -- Beland 20:28, 5 July 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

There are lots of countries! But this is normally the responsibility of the local government authority, e.g. the highways department of the town council.--Shantavira|feed me 12:36, 23 August 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I'm pretty sure the Postal Service (USPS) assigns house numbers in the US. 19:32, 2 October 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]
In my experience, house numbers have been set by the local (municipal or county) planning authority. -- Mwalcoff 01:30, 3 October 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]
In New Zealand the allocation of house numbers is the responsibility of the territorial local authority. Daveosaurus (talk) 08:19, 5 August 2008 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Latin America[edit]

"In Latin America the addressing system is quite similar to the one used in United States and rest of the world." This comment makes no sense, given that the United States uses a very different system from Europe (which is part of the rest of the world). (talk) 19:54, 20 January 2008 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Plenty of places in the U.S. do use a system very similar to Europe; that said, there is no "one" system used in the United States. Powers T 14:20, 29 January 2008 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Evidently enough systems exist in any large region that one can say any two such regions use similar ones. —Tamfang (talk) 06:01, 6 December 2008 (UTC)Reply[reply]
You cannot generalize for all of Latin America like this article does. From the countries I've been in, I could say that the described system of colonies is the one used in El Salvador/Guatemala, but there are several other systems including the distance-based Street/Avenue/Number system in Colombia, the instructions-based system in Costa Rica, the number/street system widely used in Venezuela, and even mixed systems such as the one used in Panama City... I would recommend fixing this. (talk) 06:20, 5 December 2008 (UTC)Reply[reply]

As I already wrote in the article  Done, Uruguay uses a variation of the European French-Spanish system, I think that European system should be not that uncommon on Latin America and I would not be surprised to also find it on Peru, Bolivia, Paraguay and Brazil. --Neurorebel (talk) 22:14, 30 March 2017 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Block numbers[edit]

I've found various references stating that block numbers as described in the article are used outside of the United States, particularly in Canada. Yet the consensus here is that they are unique to the US, and any attempt to broaden the treatment beyond the US is eventually edited out. What gives? Doctor Whom (talk) 17:14, 14 July 2008 (UTC)Reply[reply]


We're missing history here by taking numbering for granted. There is a cute and well-known story about the Rothschild family being named that because their house had a red shield on it to denote where to deliver mail in their Germanic state. (not in article). There were other emblems besides colored shields, of course. There has to have been a lot of schemes over the years. Hard to believe that Roman houses were numbered DLIIC, etc. I would think that numbering prior to the introduction of "Arabic" (Indian) mumerals would be counter-intuitive. But then so was mail delivery!  :)Student7 (talk) 20:31, 20 September 2008 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Well, DLIIC is an invalid form ... —Tamfang (talk) 06:02, 6 December 2008 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Use of number 13 in UK[edit]

There's an interesting article on house numbering just out on BBC News Online.

I have added a reference to it in the sentence about the number 13, and moved it to the british section of the wiki article. (and removed a 'reference?' tag)

My change:

Some UK local authorities avoid the number 13 for house numbering, because that number is considered unlucky. [1]

It's the first time I've added a reference in a wiki article so please let me know if I've made a mistake.

--RedTomato (talk) 21:11, 12 December 2008 (UTC)Reply[reply]

It worked. —Tamfang (talk) 21:22, 14 December 2008 (UTC)Reply[reply]
In the UK only??
I am from mainland Europe, and was surprised a few years ago, that a relative, living in a major Canadian city at house number 11, had a neighbour living on 15. No number 13, and no space to build one, either! That certainly was not UK. (I realise Canada is a dominion, but it is certainly not UK) Marc1966 (talk) 18:03, 17 April 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]



The paragraph

"In Sweden, there is also a system for numbering farms (fastighetsbeteckningar) and thereby also the houses on them. The numbering is done per village. When a farm is split, either composited numbers (like 2:1 and 2:2) are made to be able differ the farms, or a completely new number, previously unused, can be given to one or both of the farms."

is both off-topic and slightly incorrect. This is a cadastral system, not part of street addresses. What is numbered is not the houses on the property, but the property itself. Also, it's not restricted to farms, it can be used for any rural, semi-rural or even suburban property (cities and other dense developments tend to use block names and lot numbers instead, although exceptions are common). I suggest that the paragraph be removed. //Essin (talk) 00:03, 10 June 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I totally agree. I live in Sweden and have never seen such house numbers. I removed the paragraph. --Henriko se (talk) 13:52, 21 June 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]


In much of the United States, buildings are not numbered according to a simple sequence but rather according to distance from a given baseline. As a result, four- and five-digit addresses are common. Odd numbers are typically on one side of the street, evens on the other. In New England and the New York Metropolitan Area, however, a simple sequence is used much like that in European cities.

Does this mean odd-even numbering is not used in (substantial parts of) the northeast? —Tamfang (talk) 23:58, 12 July 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]


Do bridges have street numbers? — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 23:46, 15 September 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]

If there are buildings on them (other than tollbooths and the like), I guess so! —Tamfang (talk) 21:41, 11 March 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Starting from the center of town[edit]

In Utrecht, The Netherlands I noticed that the numbering starts at the side of the street that is the nearest to the center (which is the Dom Tower). Is that usual in The Netherlands/Europe/the world? Joepnl (talk) 21:32, 18 November 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]

If by "side" you mean end, I'd say such a tendency is to be expected. —Tamfang (talk) 22:56, 23 October 2016 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Pont Notre-Dame[edit]

A house numbering scheme was present in Pont Notre-Dame in Paris in 1512. However, the purpose of the numbering was generally to determine the distribution of property ownership in the city, rather than for the purpose of organization.

Can someone explain the second sentence? How does numbering the houses in one place help "determine the distribution of property ownership" elsewhere? —Tamfang (talk) 22:57, 23 October 2016 (UTC)Reply[reply]

My guess is, this means it was a scheme to list property owners for taxation and similar official purposes, rather than a scheme to find your way to the correct house or shop. Jim.henderson (talk) 13:24, 27 October 2016 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Historical development of numbering[edit]

The various house numbering systems historically developed in stages. When (and where) were the following ideas first implemented?

  • Assigning numbers (consecutively, without skipping or reserving numbers for future use)
  • Assigning numbers monotonically increasing from a starting point (not doubling back or returning)
  • Assigning even and odd numbers on opposite sides of a street
  • Assigning numbers by street blocks
  • Assigning numbers by measured distance from a reference point
  • Assigning number suffixes to indicate vertical distance (in multi-storey buildings)

Reify-tech (talk) 16:47, 23 March 2017 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Former Soviet Union numbering[edit]

The phrase "numbers related to the block rather than the street" does not appear to be supported by the citation given (to named as "Related discussion, additional text"). Although that talk board is about house numbering, the style mentioned in this wiki article (i.e., "Block 12, House 3") isn't mentioned in the talk board items. I'm trusting Chrome's English translation of the talk board page. Maybe someone who reads Russian and who knows Russian addressing habits could improve this? I don't want to say the citation is "irrelevant" because it _is_ related, but it certainly isn't clearly supportive of the assertion in the wiki article. I haven't renamed the talk board's info in the citation, thinking what it says now might be useful to an editor who can actually fix this. - Inkwzitv (talk) 16:44, 11 August 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Australia and New Zealand[edit]

The link is dead about "numbering system based on tens of metres" to this ("Street Addressing Working Group and the National Street Addressing Standard". Intergovernmental Committee on Survey and Mapping. 19 March 2008. Retrieved 24 February 2010). The following current materials probably would provide a better/updated replacement reference.

AS/NZS 4819:2011 Rural and urban addressing was prepared by the Street Address Working Group of ICSM for the Joint Standards Australia/Standards New Zealand Committee IT-004, to supersede AS/NZS 4819:2003, Geographic Information – Rural and Urban Addressing. It was published in November 2011. Inkwzitv (talk) 18:05, 11 August 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]

"conscription of the Jews."[edit]

The link from the word "Conscription" takes us to the article about the usual sense of the word "conscription". This however does not appear to be correct in this use, because it's referring to numbering of houses to prevent additional houses being built between them (or at least that's my understanding of the historical event). I have de-linked the conscription article, as the link to the history of the Jews in Prague goes some way to explaining this. DavidFarmbrough (talk) 16:13, 30 June 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]