Missouri was originally slated to receive only two area codes. 314 served the eastern part of the state from St. Louis to Jefferson City, while 816 was to serve all points west of Jefferson City, including Kansas City and Springfield. In 1951, 816 was reduced to Kansas City and the northwest, while southwest Missouri was assigned 417.
Even with the presence of Springfield, the state's third-largest city, it is one of the most thinly populated area codes in the nation. Despite the growing proliferation of cell phones and pagers (particularly in and around Springfield), 417 is nowhere near exhaustion; under current projections, the region will not need another area code until 2032 at the earliest.