How Many Area Codes Are There in the United States?

When you punch in a phone number for the first time, you need to use the number’s area code before entering the rest of the sequence. Area codes provide important numerical information that phone companies use to direct calls and ensure messages get to where they are supposed to go.

So, what are area codes, and how many area codes are there in the U.S.? Read on to learn the answers to both of these questions and more.

What Are Area Codes?

Area codes are the second, third, and fourth digits of a typical 11-digit phone number. The other digits include the following:

  • The first digit is the country code. In the United States, this is always 1

  • The telephone number, which comprises the last seven digits of a full 11-number sequence

However, you can expand typical telephone numbers further by adding a three-digit central office, exchange codes, or four-digit subscriber numbers.

What Are the Types of Area Codes?

All area codes are one of two types:

  • Local area codes, which denominate phone numbers in a specific geographic area of the country

  • Toll-free area codes, which include the numbers 800, 844, 855, 866, 877, and 888. Toll-free area codes are used for businesses, which is why many business phone numbers begin with 1-800. Unfortunately, these codes are also often used by spam callers.

What Do Area Codes Do?

Area codes help telephone service providers locate the right phone number based on splitting up numbers by geographic area. In this way, someone can have the same telephone number and have a different complete 11-digit number due to their area code. Area codes enable carriers to give people the same phone numbers and service more numbers than they would otherwise be able to.

How Many Area Codes Are There in the U.S.?

The number of area codes in the U.S. changes from time to time.

At the time of this writing, there are approximately 335 US area codes. These include 317 geographic area codes on top of 18 non-geographic area codes. The North American Numbering Plan, or NANP, assigns all area codes.

Area code numbers and denominations are subject to change. For example, in 1947, the continental U.S. states had 78 numbering plan areas, meaning there were only 78 different area codes. 

Between the 1990s and early 2000s, however, the area code plan expanded rapidly. This expansion led to the creation of many more area codes. These codes service a wider range of both landline telephones and cellular phones.

The NANP introduced “overlay” area codes to make more phone numbers in areas with high demand. These areas include major metropolitan areas or states with the most populous U.S. cities. 

Because of this initiative, California currently has the highest number of area codes at 35. The next two states, Texas and New York, have 27 and 19 area codes, respectively. 

How Are Area Codes Split Up?

Area codes are split up into different geographic areas throughout the U.S.

The Northeast U.S.

The first of these areas is the Northeast U.S., which comprises nine states. The states in the Northeast U.S. area code region are: 

  • Vermont
  • Connecticut
  • Maine
  • Massachusetts
  • New Hampshire
  • New Jersey
  • New York
  • Rhode Island
  • Pennsylvania (Including Philadelphia)

The entire Northeast area code region is covered by 57 area codes, with New York having the most at 19.

The Midwest U.S.

The next region is the Midwest U.S., also called North Central United States. This region consists of 12 states: 

  • Ohio
  • North Dakota
  • Illinois (Including Chicago)
  • Missouri
  • Minnesota
  • Nebraska
  • Michigan
  • Kansas
  • Iowa
  • Indiana
  • Wisconsin
  • South Dakota

79 local area codes service the region in its entirety. Illinois has the most area codes in this region, with 14. Meanwhile, North Dakota and South Dakota only have one area code each!

The Southern U.S.

Next up is the southern U.S., also called the South area code region. This region includes 16 states: 

  • North Carolina
  • South Carolina
  • Alabama
  • Arkansas
  • Tennessee
  • Virginia 
  • West Virginia
  • Delaware
  • Florida
  • Georgia
  • Kentucky
  • Louisiana
  • Maryland
  • Mississippi
  • Texas

Because there are so many states in this region, a total of 115 area codes serve all of its residents. Some of the most prominent area codes include the 512 code for Austin and the 281 code for Houston.

The Western U.S.

The last geographic area code region in the U.S. is the Western U.S. This region includes both the West Coast and Rocky Mountain areas and Alaska and Hawaii. The other 11 states included in this region are:

  • Idaho
  • California
  • Colorado
  • Arizona
  • Nevada
  • Montana
  • Utah
  • Oregon
  • New Mexico
  • Washington
  • Wyoming

68 existing area codes service the region in its entirety. 35 of those belong to California alone.

What About Washington, DC?

Washington, DC’s area code is 202. 

202 was one of the original area codes established by the NANP in 1947. Technically, the 202 area code does not belong to any distinct area code region.

Who Decides When New Area Codes Are Implemented?

All new area codes are decided on and implemented by the North American Numbering Plan Administrator or NANPA. Somos, Inc currently holds this office.

However, the Public Service Commission or PSC determines the method used to implement a new area code, such as by geographical split or overlay. 

For instance, if a city grows rapidly, the PSC may recommend the overlay method. Furthermore, the PSC is responsible for organizing transition periods, customer notifications, and education to help prevent confusion caused by dialing the wrong area code.

Generally, the overlay method of generating new area codes is only used when there is a massively increased demand for phone numbers in a concentrated geographic area, like New York City. Otherwise, a new city or local region will simply be assigned an area code region as broken down above and given an area code. 

How To Find Your Area Code

If you aren't sure what your area code is, or if you don't know whether you need to dial in your area code, you can check out helpful resources like Area Code Help, which offers a breakdown of all the current area codes used by the U.S.

Simply locate your state and general region, usually by county, and you’ll be able to determine which area code is yours. Using Area Code Help, you can click on an area code in your state and figure out what counties use the area code in question.

For example, area code 475 was put into service in 2009 and is technically an overlay of area code 203. Various Connecticut counties use area code 475, including Fairfield, New Haven, and Litchfield. Those counties include dozens of different cities and towns.

Why Don’t Some Area Codes Match the State Where You Live?

You might have an area code that was automatically assigned based on where you purchased the phone or where you received cellular service.

How Does Moving Affect Your Area Code?

In this case, if you move, your area code will probably stay the same. However, there are some cases in which an area code change after a move. That’s because the exact area code and telephone number are already in operation at your new destination. 

For instance, if you plan to move to area code 203 and there’s already a phone number that begins with 203 and it is in operation, you may need to get a new telephone number after the area code.

How Does Cancelling a Phone Plan Affect Your Area Code?

When you cancel your phone plan or switch your plan or get a new phone, you can ask your service provider about these aspects. 

They’ll be able to give you a quick answer as to whether or not you can expect a new phone number or you can keep your current phone number and area code for easy memorization.

Get a New Phone Plan With Red Pocket

As you can see, your area code is an integral part of your phone number. 

Depending on where you live, you could have one of the hundreds of potential area codes. You might even keep that area code when you switch your phone provider to a better offer, like the phone plans provided by Red Pocket.

At Red Pocket, you can swap to a new phone plan that works for your budget and your data needs in no time. We’ll even help you keep your old phone number no matter what the area code happens to be. 

Check out our phone plans today


What You Need To Know About Area Codes | PSC.GA.GOV

United States Area Codes | Area Code Help

Area Codes and Numbering | CPUC.CA.GOV

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