Q:

# What Is the History of the U.S. Area Code?

A:

Use of areas codes in the United States began in 1947. Developed by AT&T and Bell Labs for the U.S. and Canada, the system is called North American Numbering Plan (NANP) and it governs how cities and states are assigned area codes.

## Keep Learning

Credit: Gajus iStock Getty Images

The first area code in the U.S. was 201, issued to New Jersey in 1951. It established one protocol for assigning area codes-–that high-population areas got the codes with the lowest numbers. For instance, 201 is easier to dial on a rotary dial phone than 901, which could be for a suburban or rural area. The rationale was that since more people used phones in the cities than in the country, city dwellers should work less to dial.

The formula to generate are codes uses values NYX, where N equals any numeral 2 to 9, Y equals 0 or 1 and X is any number 1 through 9 unless Y is 1, which restricts the values for X to 2 through 9. Though this formula generates 152 possible codes, only 86 have been assigned, as of 2015. Area codes with 0 as the second digit are assigned to an entire state, while area codes with the second digit as 1 signifies that the state or city has more than one code. Because the system had run out of area codes by the 1980s, the North American Numbering Plan Administration implemented new protocols for area codes that allow freer use of 0 to increase the pool of numbers.

Related Videos

## Related Questions

• A: As of 2015, area code maps of the United States and territories are available at the North American Numbering Plan website, nanpa.com. The site displays ar... Full Answer >
Filed Under:
• A: Phone calls with an 877 area code can come from anywhere in the United States. The area code 877 is one of six non-geographic area codes in the United Stat... Full Answer >
Filed Under:
• A: A United States city phone code, commonly referred to as an area code, can be identified online from various websites including Country Code. The area code... Full Answer >
Filed Under:
• A: Area code 639 is the second area code to cover the province of Saskatchewan, Canada. The other area code that is associated with this area is 306. Full Answer >
Filed Under: