Decoding the ZIP Code


the ZIP Code

The Zoning Improvement Plan (ZIP) Code was launched in 1963 to better process and deliver increasing volumes of U.S. Mail. The first number in the five-digit ZIP Code represents a general geographic area of the nation, “0” in the east, moving to “9” in the west. The next two numbers represent regional areas, and the final two identify specific Post Offices.

* | Tags: Fun facts USPS Fact #1096 | April 15, 2024

Decoding the code.  In 1983, the ZIP+4 Code was introduced. The extra four numbers enable mail to be sorted to a specific street. In 1991, two more numbers were added so that mail could be sorted directly to a residence or business. Today, the use of ZIP Codes extends far beyond the mailing industry, including being a fundamental component in the nation’s 911 emergency system.

There are 41,704 ZIP Codes in the country. They range from 00501, belonging to the Internal Revenue Service in Holtsville, NY, to 99950 in Ketchikan, AK. Easiest to remember? How about 12345, a unique ZIP Code for General Electric in Schenectady, NY.

Mr. ZIP helped promote the new ZIP Code concept in 1963.