General Question

queenzboulevard's avatar

How do they choose which numbers get to be area codes?

Asked by queenzboulevard (2549points) September 29th, 2008

They’re all three digits but it seems like they’re in random orders. 199—not an area code!

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7 Answers

loser's avatar

They audition them. The losers, like 199 there, don’t get to be an area code. Very sad…

kevbo's avatar

It was originally based on population density. 212 was given to Manhattan because it was the quickest to dial on a rotary phone. Probably no area code starts with “1” because that number is used for national/international demarcation.

AstroChuck's avatar

Also, until demands increased for phone numbers (due to population increase, then because of dial-up modems and fax machines, and finally because of cellular telephones) area codes only had “0” or “1” as the middle number.

girlofscience's avatar

This is all very fascinating information about area codes I had not known! I love learning about area codes and zip codes and actually spent a significant portion of my time learning what regions correspond to which codes, but I had never known their history!

cheebdragon's avatar

They draw numbers from a hat…

gailcalled's avatar

People are very proprietary about some of the so-called hot area codes. As the population grew in Manhattan, some folks lost the 212 and were very upset. The same in Boston with 617. And I grew up in Westchester county with 914. That used to serve the counties of Rockland, Putnam, Orange, Dutchess, Ulster, Sullivan, and Delaware. IN 2000 it went to Westchester alone. The usual harumphing over the “prestige” issues.

La_chica_gomela's avatar

And how can they just switch them all of a sudden? That I find really weird.
I used to live in TN, and when I was really young, 615 was Knoxville, but then at some point when I was around 10 roughly, 615 suddenly was Nashville, which it still is, and now Knoxville has some other area code. WTF?

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