15 facts you probably don’t know about ZIP codes

ZIP codes have become a part of everyday life for US citizens but how much do you really know about them?

We’ve found 15 fun and fascinating facts to test your knowledge.

1. There are around 42,000 ZIP codes in the United States, compared to 861,094 postal codes in Canada. Tweet this

2. With many postal professionals serving in the war, the first US postal zone system was introduced in 1943 with 2 digits to help novice clerks sort mail. Tweet this

3. To cope with growing mail volumes, an improved postal zone system with 5 digit codes was developed in 1963. Tweet this

4. There are 4 types of ZIP code: ‘Unique’ (for high volume addresses), ‘PO Boxes’, ‘Military’ & ‘Standard’. Tweet this

5. Wal-Mart HQ, Dodger Stadium, the White House and the Empire State Building all have their own, unique ZIP code. Tweet this

6. ZIP stands for ‘Zone Improvement Plan’. Tweet this

Mr Zippy

7. The US Post Office adopted ‘Mr ZIP’ aka ‘Zippy’ (designed by the son of a postman) to persuade citizens to use the code in mailing addresses, promising speedy and efficient deliveries in return. Tweet this

8. A new ZIP + 4 zoning system was created in 1983, adding 4 extra digits to identify carrier route and block. Tweet this

9. The 9 digit ZIP code is primarily used by businesses as they sometimes get a discount on the cost of mailing for doing so. Tweet this

10. Aside from mail delivery, ZIP codes are also used in credit card authorization and to determine insurance ratings. Tweet this

11. Most addresses get scanned and converted to an 11 digit barcode containing the ZIP + 4 and 2 digits representing the delivery point. Tweet this

12. The first digit in a ZIP code represents a group of states, eg: 1 for Delaware, New York and Pennsylvania. Codes count up from east coast towards the west. Tweet this

13. The average population per ZIP code is 7,631. Tweet this

14. There are almost 5 thousand changes to ZIP codes each year; new codes are created and old ones can be retired. Tweet this

15. The ZIP code 12345 belongs to General Electric in Schenectady, NY. Tweet this

How many facts did you know? If you know something interesting about ZIP codes that we’ve missed, we’d love to hear it in the comments.