While phones themselves have come a long way from switch boards and telephone operators, telephone numbers have remained relatively stable over the years. Introduced in the U.S. by the Bell system in 1947, area codes are the first three digits in a 10-digit phone number. They are also known as Numbering Plan Areas (NPAs)
How are area codes determined?
Area codes were determined by the amount of time a rotary dial phone took to physically dial the area code and the population of the area they were trying to reach (e.g., 212 for New York City versus more suburban 915 for Texas). Thus, area codes generally indicate a geographical area of the United States.
The first original 86 area codes were three digits with a zero (0) in the middle. As numbers expanded, that middle number became a one (1).
Do area codes change?
While area codes do not necessarily change, they do have to create new ones. Within 50 years of the creation of the standard area code, all 144 original area codes were exhausted (From 1947 to 1995). Since 1995 there have been well over 100 new area codes! And every year, more and more area codes are being created. This is due to the rapid increase of communication devices such as cell phones, fax machines, and CC authorization systems.
The answer, then, is yes. Area codes are added to various ZIP codes throughout the United States. It is important to have a complete and accurate database that provides these area codes to you.
We offer every area code with each associated ZIP code in our commercial edition of both our USA and Canadian Postal Codes.
The Importance of Keeping Up-to-date Data: Area Codes
Many customers ask, “Should I buy the monthly download subscription?”
The answer to this is usually, “It depends.”
Area codes began back in the mid-19th century by AT&T to help facilitate phone traffic. The lower the number, the higher the population that number represented. While this system worked at the time, society has grown. With this growth, the sophistication of phone numbers has grown too.
Area codes are one of the key factors in deciding if monthly or quarterly updates are right for you. Like ZIP codes, area codes are added frequently throughout the year. Since 1995, there have been well over 120 new area codes. That is almost two new area codes every month.
If understanding your customers is important to your business, we strongly suggest keeping current with the most accurate data by us.
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