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What is a United States zip code number?

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Quick Answer

A ZIP code number is a five-digit postal code assigned to an area in the United States or its overseas military stations. ZIP is an acronym for Zone Improvement Plan.

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Full Answer

ZIP codes were created by the United States Postal Service in 1963 to assist with the sorting of mail. These numbers can be used for a single address that receives high volumes of mail, such as a university, or they can be used for cities or regions. The first digit of the ZIP code represents a specific group of states, moving east to west; "0" represents eastern states and "9" represents western states. There are more than 40,000 ZIP codes in the United States.

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