How Many Area Codes Are in the US?

How Many Area Codes Are in the US? List of US Area Codes

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An area code extends far beyond just being the initial digits of a US phone number. For many people, an US area code has a personal connection, such as the symbol of hometown. From determining billing rates when making phone calls within the country to helping organize the boundaries for calling and billing, area codes have become symbols of identity.


What Are Area Codes in the US?

An area code is a 3-digit code before the 7-digit phone number. It identifies a specific geographic region or state within the United States. These codes were introduced as part of the North American Numbering Plan (NANP) in the 1940s to facilitate automated long-distance dialing.

 

US area codes route calls accurately to the intended destination by indicating the geographical area associated with the phone number.

When Were Area Codes Introduced?

Area codes were first introduced in 1947 by the American Telephone and Telegraph Company (AT&T) as part of the North American Numbering Plan. It unified local numbering plans and developed a nationwide system to facilitate long-distance calling and address the increasing demand for telephone services.

 

The evolution of area codes marked a significant shift in how telephone systems operated. Phone numbers used to be tied to locations and operated by humans. The switch from old-fashioned, operator-based phone systems to numeric phone numbers transformed telephones, making them automated and laying the groundwork for today’s communication. Despite resistance, area codes were vital for network growth and better connections.

How Are Area Codes Determined?

Area codes are determined based on a combination of historical factors, and population needs within a specific region. Initially, the allocation of area codes was influenced by the need to unify local numbering plans and create a nationwide system to facilitate long-distance calling.

 

The NANP standardized the numbering system across the US and certain other countries in 1947. The design of area codes within the NANP was strategic, with the second digit of each area code indicating whether the state had multiple area codes (digit 1) or a single area code (digit 0). It assigned more accessible codes to larger cities, making it easier for users to place calls on rotary phones.

Telephone numbering rules evolved to meet the increasing demand for phone services. Initially, area codes and central office codes couldn’t start with 0 or 1 due to technical limitations. In the 1950s, these rules changed to accommodate more numbers. In the 1960s, central office codes were allowed a second digit other than 0 or 1 to prevent shortages.

 

Dialing 1 before calls in areas with multiple codes became common. Recent changes allow area codes to have a second digit from 0 to 8, with 9 reserved for emergencies and future expansion, enhancing communication capabilities in the US and Canada.

 

Moreover, the logic behind area code assignment accommodates future growth and ensures the availability of sufficient area codes. It facilitates efficient dialing and shapes regional identities. They became symbolic of specific locations and served as identifiers, especially in an era where smartphones have transformed them into regional markers for individuals who relocate.

How Many Area Codes in the US?

The US has 335 area codes, used to differentiate different geographical and non-geographical regions for telephone communication. These area codes are part of NANP and are crucial in efficiently directing calls.


The US is divided into various regions, each with its own set of area codes. California currently leads with the highest number of area codes at 36, followed by Texas with 27 and New York with 19. Listed down below is a breakdown of the US area codes by region:
 

  • Northeast US: It is covered by 57 area codes, with New York having the most at 19.
  • Midwest US: It has 79 local area codes, Illinois being the most with 14 different area codes.
  • Southern US: It comprises 115 area codes that serve states like Texas, Florida, and Georgia.
  • Western US: It encompasses states like California, Arizona, and Washington, served by 68 existing area codes.


These area codes are necessary for directing calls accurately and efficiently within the country.
 

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Why Does the US Have So Many Area Codes?

The US has many area codes because of the increasing demand for phone numbers. In 2021, there were 202 million fixed-line subscriptions in the US. When the NANP was first created, it was designed to plan for the future and ensure enough phone numbers were available. States that needed more than one area code usually got a second digit of '1', while states with only one code got a second digit of '0'.

 

This system was made to help people dial on older phones and make sure there were enough area codes for the future. As technology advanced and more devices like modems, fax machines, and cell phones started using phone lines, the demand for new area codes increased. This led to adding more area codes to meet the growing need for phone numbers.

 

The telephone system in the US has evolved to include a complex network of area codes that show where calls are coming from and how the phone system has developed in the country.

Area Codes by State

Out of 50 US states, eleven states have only one area code. Idaho and Washington, DC, are the only ones with two area codes.
 

S.N

State

Number of Area Codes

Area Codes

1

Alabama

6

205, 251, 256, 334, 659, 938

2

Alaska

1

907

3

Arizona

5

480, 520, 602, 623, 928

4

Arkansas

3

479, 501, 870

5

California

37

209, 213, 279, 310, 323, 341, 350, 408, 415, 424, 442, 510, 530, 559, 562, 619, 626, 628, 650, 657, 661, 669, 707, 714, 747, 760, 805, 818, 820, 831, 840, 858, 909, 916, 925, 949, 951

6

Colorado

5

303, 719, 720, 970, 983

7

Connecticut

4

203, 475, 860, 959

8

Delaware

1

302

9

Florida

20

239, 305, 321, 352, 386, 407, 448, 561, 656, 689, 727, 754, 772, 786, 813, 850, 863, 904, 941, 954

10

Georgia

10

229, 404, 470, 478, 678, 706, 762, 770, 912, 943

11

Hawaii

1

808

12

Idaho

2

208, 986

13

Illinois

15

217, 224, 309, 312, 331, 447, 464, 618, 630, 708, 773, 779, 815, 847, 872

14

Indiana

8

219, 260, 317, 463, 574, 765, 812, 930

15

lowa

5

319, 515, 563, 641, 712

16

Kansas

4

316, 620, 785, 913

17

Kentucky

5

270, 364, 502, 606, 859

18

Louisiana

5

225, 318, 337, 504, 985

19

Maine

1

207

20

Maryland

5

240, 301, 410, 443, 667

21

Massachusetts 

9

339, 351, 413, 508, 617, 774, 781, 857, 978

22

Michigan

12

231, 248, 269, 313, 517, 586, 616, 734, 810, 906, 947, 989

23

Minnesota

7

218, 320, 507, 612, 651, 763, 952

24

Mississippi

4

228, 601, 662, 769

25

Missouri

6

314, 417, 573, 636, 660, 816

26

Montana

1

406

27

Nebraska

3

308, 402, 531

28

Nevada

3

702, 725, 775

29

New
Hampshire

1

603

30

New Jersey

10

201, 551, 609, 640, 732, 848, 856, 862, 908, 973

31

New Mexico

2

505, 575

32

New York

20

212, 315, 332, 347, 363, 516, 518, 585, 607, 631, 646, 680, 716, 718, 838, 845, 914, 917, 929, 934

33

North Carolina

10

252, 336, 472, 704, 743, 828, 910, 919, 980, 984

34

North Dakota

1

701

35

Ohio

13

216, 220, 234, 326, 330, 380, 419, 440, 513, 567, 614, 740, 937

36

Oklahoma

4

405, 539, 580, 918

37

Oregon

4

458, 503, 541, 971

38

Pennsylvania

15

215, 223, 267, 272, 412, 445, 484, 570, 582, 610, 717, 724, 814, 835, 878

39

Rhode Island

1

401

40

South Carolina

5

803, 839, 843, 854, 864, 

41

South Dakota

1

605

42

Tennessee

7

423, 615, 629, 731, 865, 901, 931

43

Texas

27

210, 214, 254, 281, 325, 346, 361, 409, 430, 432, 469, 512, 682, 713, 726, 737, 806, 817, 830, 832, 903, 915, 936, 940, 956, 972, 979

44

Utah

3

385, 435, 801

45

Vermont

1

802

46

Virginia

8

276, 434, 540, 571, 703, 757, 804, 826

47

Washington

6

206, 253, 360, 425, 509, 564

48

District of Columbia

2

202, 771

49

West Virginia

2

304, 681

50

Wisconsin

6

262, 414, 534, 608, 715, 920

51

Wyoming

1

307

 

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Will the US Run Out of Area Codes?

The US is estimated to run out of three-digit area codes in 2049. To solve the issue, phone numbers will have to go from being 10 digits to 12 digits long.
 

The North American Numbering Plan Administrator (NANPA) has implemented rules that help manage the distribution of phone numbers efficiently. Restrictions on certain number combinations, recycling numbers after death or business closure, and adding new area codes ensure that there are enough US phone numbers.

Adjusting the number of digits can also help manage shortages. The current structure of the North American Numbering Plan will work till 2049, after which it will need to be adjusted. Among the discussed plans, the two popular ideas are adding 0 or 1 to the start or end of codes or adding 9 as the second digit to existing codes, like changing 650 to 6950 for San Mateo County, California.

Conclusion

Area codes are crucial for accurately directing calls by identifying specific regions within the telephone network. Established in the 1940s as part of the NANP, US area codes automated the telephone system, improving communication efficiency. They are assigned based on population density, not just geography, to meet the increasing demand for phone services.

The US’s complex area code system, reflecting technological advancements and population growth, ensures smooth communication. Despite worries about running out of area codes, strategies like efficient number allocation and adding new codes when necessary maintain the system. With effective number management and flexibility to address shortages, the US will likely maintain area codes as per the NANP.

Frequently Asked Questions

Which state has the most area codes?

The state with the most area codes in the US is California. California has a diverse range of 36 area codes due to its large population and geographical size.

What is the oldest area code?

The oldest area code in America is 201, covering the northeastern part of New Jersey. It was established in 1947 as part of the North American Numbering Plan. It was the first Direct Distance Dialing number, allowing calls to Alameda, California. Today, it remains in use, symbolizing the state's identity and history.

What is the most uncommon US area code?

The most uncommon US area code is 212, associated with New York City, NY. It is highly desirable but nearly impossible to obtain due to exhaustion. Alternatives like 917 or 718 are used for the five boroughs of NYC. This rarity adds to its prestige and uniqueness among area codes.

What is the most answered area code?

The most answered area code in the US is 212, which corresponds to New York City, NY. The popularity of area codes often reflects the significance and size of the cities they represent.

Do you have to put an area code when texting?

When texting, including an area code is only necessary if you are texting a number outside your local area code. If you are texting within your area, you can dial the 7-digit phone number. However, when texting long-distance or internationally, you must include the appropriate area code or country code.

What are the wealthiest area codes in the US?

The wealthiest area codes in the US, characterized by high mean household incomes and expensive property values, are 305 in Miami and the Florida Keys, 516 in Long Island, NY, and 650 in the South San Francisco Bay Area. These areas boast mean household incomes exceeding $400,000.

What are the most dangerous area codes in the US?

The most dangerous area codes in the US are cities like Bessemer, Monroe, Saginaw, Memphis, Detroit, Birmingham, Pine Bluff, Little Rock, Alexandria, and Cleveland, with high occurrences of violent crimes per capita. They are identified based on crime data analysis, including violent crime rates and predictions.

What are the most popular area codes in the US?

The most popular area codes in the US are 212 for New York City, NY, and 310 for Los Angeles, CA. These area codes hold cultural significance and are highly sought after, reflecting the prestige and desirability of these major cities as indicated by recent trends and demand.

What are the cool area codes in the US?

Cool area codes in the US are those like 212 (New York City), 310 (Los Angeles), 302 (Delaware), 305 (Miami), 702 (Las Vegas), 202 (Washington, DC), 415 (San Francisco), and 312 (Chicago). These area codes hold cultural significance, represent prestigious locations, and are often associated with specific industries or lifestyles.

Last Updated: April 14, 2024


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