General Question

mathwhiz1's avatar

How are zip codes in the United States arranged?

Asked by mathwhiz1 (264points) February 8th, 2010

Are they in any kind of order?

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9 Answers

grumpyfish's avatar

Here’s a good map:

In general, lower numbers are to the east, higher numbers to the west.

The first three digits are the code for the main sorting center, which distributes mail to the post offices (which are identified by the last two digits).

JLeslie's avatar

@mathwhiz1 You may already know this… If you are interested in this type of thing you might be interested to know that the United States interstate road system is set up logically with lower numbers to the west and higher to the east. North South freeways are odd numbered. So I75 (Michigan to Florida) is west of I95 Maine to Florida). East West interstates are even numbers, I80 (runs through states like Ohio) is north of I40 (runs trhough states like Tennessee). A three number interstate is a spur or loop off of the main interstate.

Rufus_T_Firefly's avatar

Apparently they’re laid out by Curly, Moe and Larry.

aphilotus's avatar

What impresses me is that the post office can actually revoke zip codes. See Centralia, PA, the town-with-a-200-year-fire-under-it.

deni's avatar

@aphilotus very interesting!

Rufus_T_Firefly's avatar

I believe that Centralia was also the inspiration for the town portrayed in the movie Silent Hill.

delirium's avatar



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