Talk:ZIP Code/Archive 2

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Archive 1 Archive 2 Archive 3

External Links

You are correct, BUT usa-zip-code dot com seams to stay, I guess the contrib who removes others must own that site or is getting money from them. They are a FOR PROFIT COMPANY who makes money off of selling PUBLIC information. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 01:58, 6 February 2013 (UTC)

There are millions of ZIP Code lookups on the internet. I don't think it's necessary for Wikipedia to link to every one of them. I believe that we should stick with the official lookups on the USPS website. Many of the others that seem to pop up reguarly are pretty spammy.

  • I suggest we start a list of the websites that have been spamming this article regularly. If anyone sees these links on the page, I recommend they are removed. Any comments on this, including reasons why these links should be included, would be appreciated.Mil97036 18:10, 22 November 2006 (UTC)
    • www.aresllc(dot)com/zip-codes-finder/
    • www.code322(dot)com
  • Do we really want to do this, or are we giving the linkspammers the publicity they crave? The fact that someone posted a description of one of those sites here on the talk page concerns me. Maybe we should post the domain names in some other way.--Wehwalt 15:34, 8 December 2006 (UTC)
In some articles, the regular editors have taken the position that any new external link is guilty until proved innocent, i.e., discussed in the talk page first. Is that an example worth following in ZIP-code-related articles, since they are such spam magnets? Doctor Whom 16:19, 8 December 2006 (UTC)
Given that these ZIP Code articles are prone to spam, I think that Doctor Whom's suggestion may be a good one. Is there a way that we can indicate this on the page? —The preceding unsigned comment was added by Mil97036 (talkcontribs) 15:39, 19 December 2006 (UTC).
I think that we keep removing, and when we do, we mention "See discussion on talk page" and if the editor wants to tell us why the link should remain, he can discuss it with the group.--Wehwalt 16:41, 19 December 2006 (UTC)
  • Here is a link that I inserted a few days ago and which was removed about a day later. This is not spam (the page does not have ads, and there is no way to make money from it). It is an art-inspired visualization of "the secret live" of ZIP codes, and since Fry's zipdecode is also linked, I thought it was ok. The page also got quite a bit of exposure over the last few days on sites like, and there are 50 comments on it now, most of them positive (plus dozens more on other sites). So here's the link and description: US ZIPScribble Map - a map created by connecting all ZIP codes in ascending order, which reveals some interesting patterns. Any thoughts? -- Robert Kosara 04:33, 9 December 2006 (UTC)
  • I'm sure it is fascinating to watch the patterns of the "secret live" but I don't think it contains info for further reading, which is sort of the point of "see also"--Wehwalt 14:09, 9 December 2006 (UTC)
  • I have a site for your consideration as a useful external link. HipCodes(dot)com provides an instant, free, no-registration-required map of any* ZIP code in the United States. Zip Code boundary data are extracted from the most recent US Census Bureau Tiger data (*as of 01/2007 Tiger2006fe). There will be omissions in this data set, but not many. Interactive maps allow panning and zooming throughout all levels of detail. To my knowledge there is not another site on the internet - including Gmaps - which provides such a service. Following Wikipedia rules I am asking for review here and not adding a link myself. Thank you for your consideration Middleforkmaps 02:19, 31 January 2007 (UTC)
    Thanks for going through the procedure. I do not see any great harm in the site and it seems to do what the editor said with a minimum of advertising. I'm not good at detecting if it is doing anything else, like spyware, though.--Wehwalt 13:05, 31 January 2007 (UTC)
I have no objections either. Doctor Whom 21:48, 31 January 2007 (UTC)
Thank you for the positive feedback. I'll allow the question gestate for a while. Middleforkmaps 03:12, 1 February 2007 (UTC)
  • I would like to re-introduce the above external link discusion for hipcodes(dot)com, last discussed on 1 February 2007. At that time external links were limited to US government sites. As there is now at least one dot-com link included, HipCodes would again like to note that it provides an instant-free-no-registration Zip Code map and search tool which may benefit some users. I still shall not add any link myself. Middleforkmaps 01:11, 19 April 2007 (UTC)
    • Still OK with me. I deleted the other site, by the way, they didn't go through the process. We must have been asleep at the switch.--Wehwalt 19:26, 19 April 2007 (UTC)
  • Fellow editors, I wish to have an external link considered; I believe it can be of great use to the readers. has a free download of US Zip codes (to quote the page: "Includes zip, city, state, latitude, longitude, and county"), and as far as I can tell, there isn't any advertising on the page. Please let me know if you think it'll be ok to add this one. TY. --Corsarius 17:44, 4 October 2007 (UTC)
    • Hi, guys. I hope it wouldn't come across as an affront to you if I will go ahead and add the above-stated link. I reckon that that would be OK, since the link can be easily removed by an editor anyway (of course, with due discussion here in the Talk page). Thanks again. -- Corsarius 03:35, 19 October 2007 (UTC)
      • Corsarius, when adding the iBegin link, why did you remove the USZip(.)com one? There is no direct competition between the two sources, as far as I can tell, and since the iBegin one is a ZIP codes database for download it serves a totally different and much narrower audience. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 11:42, 11 May 2008 (UTC)
  • Dear Editors, per your instructions we would like to suggest our website as an external link candidate. USZip(.)com is an instant ZIP code search followed with U.S. census data that can be searched and browsed by ZIP code or city name.

As it name implies, USZip(.)com is all about U.S. Zip code data and will provide users with geographic and several demographic factors for a given zip code using a clear and intuitive AJAX based user interface. The data is compiled from the public domain US Census Bureau 2000 ZIP code tabulations.

We would appreciate if you will consider our entry and objectively compare it to other non-governmental sources that are listed such as the 'ZipCode Finder', and decide which resource provides more relevant information, ease of use and less aggressive advertising to better serve the WikiPedia audience.

Thanks in advance for your time and consideration. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 11:14, 4 May 2008 (UTC)

I don't see any major problems with it, except that most of the stats it gives is available through the other commercial EL we already have (I deleted a third as unuseful). I can't speak to if it is a spyware threat or something, though.--Wehwalt (talk) 11:36, 4 May 2008 (UTC)
Thanks for your feedback, Wehwalt.

Regarding your spyware threat concerns, I can assure you our family of reference related websites are 100% safe and secure. Our websites (lead by Abbreviations(.)com, an acronyms and abbreviations directory edited by volunteering editors) are serving millions of visitors from all over the world and we've been running our online business for more than 7 years now without a single malicious code complaints.

We'll be waiting for more feedback before adding USZip(.)com to the external links section.

Thanks again, Yigal Ben Efraim CEO STANDS4 LLC —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 11:08, 5 May 2008 (UTC)

The whole of the external link discussion here seems solvable with a single dmoz link I would imagine. Wikipedia is not a web directory and links really should be the exception not the rule. --Herby talk thyme 10:52, 23 June 2008 (UTC)
Dmoz link? Can you explain the term?--Wehwalt (talk) 13:32, 23 June 2008 (UTC)
Sure - take a look at this. If you poke around you will find links to pretty much anything and a link on the page here to the correct section of dmoz (I think there is an interwiki link too which may make it easier - I'll check) will give people a way to find link of the nature they require (and keep our pages cleaner). Failing which I guess a google link maybe. The problem is that links here have no real vetting, we are not link experts etc etc - dmoz/google are web directories. Hope it helps, cheers --Herby talk thyme 14:00, 23 June 2008 (UTC)

If you're interested in a DMOZ link then Top: Reference: Directories: Address and Phone Numbers: Postal Codes is probably going to be the closest match. The link isn't very easy to find directly from the DMOZ home page but a direct link from this article might allow people to find what they're looking for. Unfortunately, the DMOZ page is not limited to just US zip codes. It postal codes from other countries as well.

If you're interested in a Google link then free zip code database is probably the most relevant search term for this particular article. Please note, if you remove the word "free" from the search query you'll simply get a ton of commercial websites trying to make a fast buck (sometimes hundreds of dollars) for data and services that are (obviously) available for free. --PopularData (talk) 03:12, 26 June 2008 (UTC)

Since no new discussion seems to have happened here I have removed the old/incomplete US Census bureau links. People would be better off searching on Google, DMOZ, etc themselves. If someone wants to add those searches as ELs feel free (see notes above). I have also removed the USZIP link as it really isn't relevant to this article (ie. USPS website has it covered). Perhaps it is more relevant to an article about the US Census or US demographics? --PopularData (talk) 04:58, 1 August 2008 (UTC)

ZIP + 4

The correct name for the "zip plus four" code is "ZIP + 4" - please note the spaces before and after the plus sign. 21:40, 26 January 2007 (UTC) R. West

Remove a code?

Is it possible for a ZIP code to be entirely removed, I assume by merging into another zip? If so, need to update with the fact it happens and how. --Ward99 — Preceding undated comment added 21:27, 19 February 2007


Does anyone know what the USPS recommended fonts for mailings are? — Preceding unsigned comment added by64.40.46.82 (talk) 17:37, 9 March 2007

Mapping question

I need to assign a red/blue condition in an SCF map, much like a red and blue state election map, except it would be red and blue SCF's. Simple map, no highways etc, don't even need state borders and SCF areas can be approx. Any suggestions how I might do that without hiring a marketing/mapping company?

Funny the online USPS mailing standards don't specify a preferred font. USPS has been using OCR since the 70's, surely they can handle all routine common fonts, but they should reject artsy/calligraphy fonts on bulk mailings, in my opinion. Don T. 15:19, 7 April 2007 (UTC) — Preceding comment actually added by (talk)

Looks like has been spamming on the page repeatedly, and removing the "If you want to add an external link to this list, please discuss it on the talk page first. Otherwise, it may be immediately removed. Thank you." comment. Polpo (talk) 17:36, 23 May 2008 (UTC)

One of the main problems here is that we have a bunch of people with a bit of a "god complex" here. Just read the page history and you can see examples of long time editors adding USEFUL links only to see them removed a day or so later. Anyone who bothered to do even a little research would see that the website is a FREE, opensource site. It is featured on MANY blogs around the internet, has been published in multiple magazine articles, and even a few books. The site is clean. Futhermore, I feel it is an EXTREMELY relevant site. It is perhaps one of the best sources of FREE up-to-date zip code database data. Please leave it intact. Thank you. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 17:18, 26 May 2008 (UTC)

Sorry, that is not true. We have come up with a process here. Ask for a approval on talk page, before posting a site. In this case it is a download. Probably better to use a website than have a dedicated program. PopularData adds nothing not available from existing ELs, at an increase in inconvenience and threat. Oppose having it as an EL.--Wehwalt (talk) 22:21, 31 May 2008 (UTC)

I have reviewed the ELs and can not any ELs that provide good raw zip code data. Web services are fine for most but as a programmer I am looking for RAW data. The only raw data available in the ELs appears to be the US Census data. I have downloaded the census data and it appears to be VERY out of date. I did some research (based on the claims above) and it does appear to be a relevant (at least Google thinks so) source of zip code data. I would suggest to the person(s) running that if they added a web service or something to their site it might be more easily accepted? I don't care for such a thing myself. There are HUNDREDS of sites out there with web portals and services for zip code info. I just want a database to include in my own programs. Just my two cents. I vote to put it back in. Or, should I just add it back in? One person takes links out, another adds them back in. I'm new (to this article) but I fail to see the "process" here? Andrew —Precedingunsigned comment added by (talk) 22:43, 6 June 2008 (UTC)

I see that the external link has been removed again... for no real reason. I would kindly request that Wehwalt stop removing it. I welcome open discussion on the subject and encourage anyone interested to do a little research and explain to me why its not relevant. Also, while I'm on the topic of relevant links I would like to point out that the external link to the census bureau data is seriously out of date. Not only is the data over EIGHT YEARS old... it was never complete to begin with! The census bureau themselves state this in the following link:

I don't see anyone anxious to remove that link (and it probably should be) so it makes absolutely no sense to remove the PopularData link. The PopularData link contains information that is more complete, and more accurate. Since one single individual decided to remove the link I have added the link back in. I welcome discussion as to why anyone feels it is not relevant to this article. I would also like to thank the person above (Andrew) for his comments. I don't have any immediate plans to add any sort of webservice since there are a TON of sites out there that already. What I provide is complete and raw data for download (for free). I do appreciate the suggestion though. If that was all it took to have people stop removing the link I could easily do that. The code for such a lookup service would take me less than 10 minutes to write. *shrug* --PopularData (talk) 05:50, 19 June 2008 (UTC)

Given that by your name, you have WP:COI with the link, you should not be adding it. You can bring it to the attention of talk page, fine, but you have to leave it to editors to decide. There was no consensus, so I will remove it again.--Wehwalt (talk) 15:31, 19 June 2008 (UTC)

I agree, should not be adding it due to a direct conflict of interest. I disagree with you being judge, jury, and executioner though. Who are these editors? What are their names? Time for a vote? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 16:19, 19 June 2008 (UTC)

Then why did you add it back in? And why does your talk page, in its entirety [1] consist of a statement from last October that the populardata site should be added in? The only edits you have ever made to article pages are additions of external links, adding software packages. Are we seeing sockpuppets here?
WP is not a democracy and does not work by voting. Additions, such as the addition of the populardata site, need to be by consensus. I and another user objected; thus there is not consensus.--Wehwalt (talk) 16:25, 19 June 2008 (UTC)

Wehwalt, you clearly need to do some research. I personally am not associated with PopularData (just a supporter) so no need to worry about "sockpuppets". For an attorney you don't argue very well. WP is not a democracy but its not a dictatorship either. Based on your logic are you saying that if two or more people disagree with your changes they should be undone? That's just silly. Furthermore, your talk about "software packages" is silly as well. There isn't a software package on that entire site. Just raw data in text form. :-) Do some research and stop grinding that axe. :-) -Andrew —Precedingunsigned comment added by (talk) 17:11, 19 June 2008 (UTC)

Andrew, would you please refrain from undoing the changes. I am trying to "follow procedure" even though I disagree with some of what Wehwalt is saying. We have had a discussion over on a separate WP page and he has recommended I come over here and post my points. It seems to me (on the surface anyway) that nobody has a problem with the link itself but with the lack of proper procedure or asking for permission (or whatever). That being said, I spent some time today reading through the dispute resolution policies. That being said, I am "officially" requesting that someone review and add the following link to the "External Links" section of this article and also consider my other points:

All that being said. My website is NOT a product... simply a resource. It is NOT a program... simply raw data. So, while you and I seem to be in a "battle over procedure" and we're clearly both being stubborn. I propose that we set our differences aside for a moment. I would like to extend the olive branch and ask that you please review the link. Here are the reasons why I personally feel it should be submitted (Andrew, I have included some of your points as well, thank you):

1. If you go to Google and search for "free zip code database" or even "zip code database" you will find that consistently shows up on the first page for those phrases and several variations. For the phrase mentioned above, I think it comes in around 4th place (just above the wikipedia article). If Google considers it "relevant" I think it deserves a second look and consideration for inclusion here.

2. If you LOOK at the populardata home page itself you will see that NOWHERE on that page is the phrase "zip code database" or even "zip code". The REASON the site ranks so high on Google is because a large portion of the web community out there have linked to my site in their blogs. Google considers this "link relevance" (ie. many people talking about the same thing and pointing to the same place). I would be happy to provide a list of referring links to back this up if necessary.

3. The website is free for everyone. While many, MANY, other sites out there are requiring payment for zip code databases, etc... this site is (and always has been) free. For this reason alone, I feel it could be a valuable addition to the Zip Code article on Wikipedia.

4. In addition to this site being published in multiple blogs and papers it has also been published in several books. I feel that this further makes the case for it being a relevant link here.

I would not like to discuss the CURRENT external links on the Zip Code article:

The article currently contains a link to ( if you go to this link and try searching for a zip code, you will find the site is malfunctioning. Regardless of what you decide on my link, you should probably remove this one. It looks like the serves the exact same purpose anyway.

It is also worth mentioning that I could easily provide that same service on a page on my site (less than a day to implement) if you feel it actually adds value and would make my site more worth of submission. (kill 2 birds with one stone?)

The article also contains a link to (Zip code data sets) from the census bureau. This is the only link on this article that contains downloadable zip code data. This seems to indicate that there is already a "concensus" that downloadable zip code data IS valuable to this WP article. Unfortunately, the Census data is incomplete and out of date. The census bureau also makes mention of this on their website.

I respectfully propose that the link be added to this article or possibly even replace the census bureau website as the data is complete, more accurate, and more up to date.

(There Wehwalt, how did I do?) ;-) --PopularData (talk) 22:52, 20 June 2008 (UTC)

Not bad, for a beginner. Let me ask you this: I note on your site (yes, I did look at it both in May and recently) that it indicates that the data are not current, but several years old. Is it the same data as on the Census Bureau site? If so, why should we use a private site as an EL, rather than a government site with no worries about copyright?
And, to restate my question from last month, does it really help the WP reader on ZIP codes to be confronted with a database download, rather than a lookup service of one kind or another? Does it fill a need? Is it helpful to the reader? Have you read the standards under WP:EL, and how do you think they relate?
I should add that if you read back through the talk page discussions, we have had tremendous problems with people linkspamming this article. At one time this was a very active article, but there seem to be few editors watching it right now, and I've felt obligated to uphold the standards that were implemented. I don't have anything against your site, and while I did not download the data, I'm sure it is valuable, and for my part (as one editor), I'll consider what you have to say without prejudice.
As for Andrew's comments, both he and PopularData had a pattern of editing that looked odd, and, to my view, justified myself in asking that an admin, with greater resources than I have, take a look at it. I suspect it will end "looks odd, but can't prove it". Incidently, your earlier comments on this talk page (god complex?) were not exactly helpful.--Wehwalt (talk) 23:08, 20 June 2008 (UTC)

Wehwalt, I will attempt to address your points in order:

It is NOT the same data as on the Census Bureau site. A download of both sets of data will easily confirm this. As of this writing, the main data on the site is about 1-2 years old. An update is actually scheduled before the end of the month which will bring the database current to 2008. Zip codes don't change on a month-to-month basis (contrary to what may pay sites would have you believe, most of them bundle in telephone area code data which DOES update often) so I typically queue up many of the changes, confirm them, and roll it all out at once.

I am uncertain as to how to address your copyright question other than to say I have always offered all of the data on the site free and without any catches. I suppose if that were to cease, someone could simply discuss and remove the EL?

I believe the link DOES help a lot of the readers of this article and would go as far as to say it is probably more than you realize. If someone wants to do a simple zip code lookup, they just go to the US Post Office website (USPS.COM). There are hundreds (if not thousands) of zip code lookup sites on the internet but very few actually offer the complete set of data. In short, how do you think all of those zip code lookup websites work? ;-) (Ironically, I can trace many of them back to downloads from my site) LOL

I have read the WP:EL and I believe this link falls under those standards just as much as any of the links you have already accepted for this article. I believe that the link to the Census Bureau data already establishes the concensus that being "confronted with a database download" is acceptable. Furthermore, if I were to play Devil's advocate for a moment, I would question the relevance of all zip code lookup websites (other than the USPS.COM website). Anyone can go to Google Maps, type in a zip code, and see a map. That's about all most of the zip code lookup links do. (one could argue the point that some links show demographic data, but now we're not talking about zip codes anymore, are we?) :)

I hope that I have satisfied your questions but let me know if you have more. If you truly have nothing against the site and you are truly considering what I have to say without prejudice then I think you'll find my intentions are sincere. Clearly I have jumped through more than enough hoops here. :-)

You have stated that you're pretty much the only editor on this article so you tell me what's next? --PopularData (talk) 03:17, 21 June 2008 (UTC)

suggest we give it a few days to see if other editors chime in. Note that it is usual on WP that the views of new editors aren't taken with the same weight as veteran editors.--Wehwalt(talk) 03:24, 21 June 2008 (UTC)
In practice PopularData would be prevented from placing a link to this site per conflict of interest policy anyway. As such it should be removed if placed by that user. Given the events I would suggest that if it were placed by an IP it also should be removed. If it continues to be placed it will probably be blacklisted. It is the behaviour & breach of policy that is the issue rather than the content of the site. --Herby talk thyme 09:56, 23 June 2008 (UTC)

Thank you for your input Herbythyme. So, it seems like what you are suggesting is that the link be rejected based on what has happened in the past rather than the fact that I have finally come around to discuss it (in great detail) here on the talk page? While I respect your opinion I feel that this article in particular seems a bit bias. Up above I have discussed several of the external links and I am curious as to why the "aresllc" link is still here? Right at the top someone called them a link spammer yet they're still allowed? The lookup service at that link is broken by the way (pukes out a bunch of PHP errors when you try to look up a zip code). So, why aren't the "rules" the same for everyone? :-) I respectfully disagree with you that the issue here is the breach of policy. At this point in time, wouldn't the issue be what is best for the overall quality of the article? I have not re-added the link ever since it was pointed out that it was COI. I still feel the link is valuable to this article though, especially when examining and considering the links that have been allowed here. Can someone tell me if there is more to the story with the "aresllc" link? I don't see any discussion of it on this page... yet it was allowed? I'm new here so I could have easily missed something. If so, please let me know. --PopularData (talk) 16:41, 23 June 2008 (UTC)

The link is gone now I see. Personally I would not wish to see any more links here. Wikipedia is not a web directory. DMOZ on the other hand is - a link to the relevant part of that would be fine. I would strongly advise you not to re-insert the PopularData link - your account is blockable per policy as it stands. Equally, should any IP add the link I would investigate that very closely with a view to enquiring about the appropriateness of blacklisting. Thanks --Herby talk thyme 17:40, 23 June 2008 (UTC)

Missing state codes

Why have all the individual US State ZIP Code entries been deleted? -- 15:26, 24 April 2007 (UTC)

States and first 3 digits of ZIP

The way I read

 When a sectional center facility's area crosses state lines, that facility is assigned separate
 three-digit prefixes for the states that it serves; thus, it is possible to identify the state
 associated with any ZIP Code just by looking at the first three digits.

I should be able to look at the first three digits of any ZIP, say 06390 as is mentioned a bit later, and map 063 to the state for Fishers Island, which should be NY. But the vast majority of the 063 codes are in Connecticut. For example, 06389 is for Yantic, CT. (These codes were looked up in the latest City/State product from the USPS. You can confirm the assertion by going to the USPS zip+4 lookup page at and looking for PO Box 1 in the 06389 and 06390 ZIPs. The former comes back in CT, the latter in NY.)

So either I am reading the sentence above incorrectly, or it has ceased to be true. I only find 8 ZIPs in the current data where there is ambiguity on the first three digits, and only 4 different 3-digit prefixes where all 8 ZIPs appear. So the statement is almost true. But I think the statement needs some rewording, or we run the risk of misleading people.

Jpl 17:57, 21 November 2006 (UTC)

Fishers Island is the exception to most of the rules. Plus there used to be some DC branches in Virginia, at government offices and the like. As far as I know, Fishers Island is the only fully independent post office, with its own postmaster, with an "out of state" ZIP. Maybe, Jpl, you could post the excepions and we could discuss?--Wehwalt 15:41, 8 December 2006 (UTC)


Here are the exceptions from the May 2007 City/State product from the USPS.





The way to read them is: everything starting with the prefix to the left of the => is the state that is the second item in brackets, but you must check prefixes of the length that is the first item in brackets for exceptions. So '06' is 'CT' unless a prefix of length 3 is also in the table, and '063' is also 'CT' unless there is a prefix of length 4 in the table, and '0639' is 'NY', and since that is already a prefix of length 4, there are no other exceptions. A bit clunky, but quite compact, since many states are already unambiguous with prefixes of length 2. So the only exceptions to the "3 digits is sufficient" rule are entries of length 4 or more, all of which appear above (as of May 2007, anyway). Most exceptions involve "territories", like AS (American Samoa), GU (Guam), FM (Federated States of Micronesia), MH (Marshall Islands), MP (Northern Mariana Islands) or PW (Palau), but the first two exceptions are in the 50 states. So, although exceptions are rare, we dare not suggest that 3 digits are always sufficient to identify state. Jpl 12:51, 22 May 2007 (UTC)

Indeed, 3 digits do not uniquely determine the state. Here are a few more exceptions I know about:
  • "527" : ["IL","IA"], # QUAD CITIES
  • "515" : ["NE","IA"], # OMAHA
  • "516" : ["NE","IA"], # OMAHA
  • "865" : ["NM","AZ"], # GALLUP
  • "410" : ["OH","KY"], # CINCINNATI
  • "838" : ["WA","ID"], # SPOKANE
  • "369" : ["MS","AL"], # MERIDIAN
  • "961" : ["NV","CA"], # RENO
  • "424" : ["IN","KY"], # EVANSVILLE
  • "307" : ["TN","GA"], # CHATTANOOGA
  • "723" : ["TN","AR"], # MEMPHIS

This situation usually seems to come up when a city is very close to a state line. These exceptions came from grinding through a database of 15 million US business addresses, and noting exceptions to the one-state-per-3-digit-ZIP rule. The Census Bureau web site says that even 5-digit ZIP codes can cross state lines.

It also looks like 297 can appear in both NC and SC.

I could use a solidly reliable 3-digit ZIP vs. state table. Anyone know a current, free source? None of the listed links have it; they're either out of date or search-only.

I put a {{fact}} tag on that portion of the article. --John Nagle (talk) 07:07, 29 December 2007 (UTC)

Well, why don't you find a better way of putting it, and improve the article?--Wehwalt (talk) 14:47, 29 December 2007 (UTC)
I'm still trying to find a reliable source. I tried one of the article references [2], and it has only two 3-digit zip codes that span state boundaries:
  • "063" : ['CT', 'NY'], # NEW LONDON
  • "834" : ['ID', 'WY'], # IDAHO FALLS
It appears that table only has US states, not the special cases like territorial islands. More later.
--John Nagle (talk) 17:40, 29 December 2007 (UTC)
Aren't there still some DC ZIP codes in Virginia as well? I know they got rid of some when they made 201 Virginia, but for National Airport, the Pentagon, etc?--Wehwalt (talk) 21:29, 29 December 2007 (UTC)
I've found part of the problem. The USPS has a list of sorting facilities vs. 3 digit ZIP codes. I'd been using that as a 3-digit ZIP code list, but it's not valid for that purpose. In some cases, the sorting facility is in a different state than some ZIP code it serves. For example, 527xx is entirely in Iowa, but its sorting facility is across theMississippi River in Illinois. It now looks like the only cross-state ZIP codes in the continental US are 063 and 834. The other exceptions seem to be for sparsely populated islands. --John Nagle (talk) 23:23, 29 December 2007 (UTC)
Well . . . never been there, but Fishers Island, the exception in "063" is, no doubt, sparsely populated. Where do you draw the distinction?--Wehwalt (talk) 23:26, 29 December 2007 (UTC)

There are two US Postal Service products that I use regularly. Neither is free or redistributable. TheCity State product is described as

a comprehensive list of ZIP Codes with corresponding city and county names. This file also contains other names by which a Post Office may be known.

The ZIP + 4 product has a record for every ZIP+4 add on. Samples of the files are available at the referenced websites. It is tempting to think of these files as defining official USPS policy, but the accompanying documentation is fairly sketchy about precise definitions, so what I say here is what I have inferred from these files, not official policy. The ZIP + 4 product stores 6-character City State Keys to identify the bulkier city and state names stored in the City State product. Although the City State product has default preferred names for all the names by which a Post Office may be known, the ZIP + 4 product sometimes overrides that default, as is mentioned elsewhere on this talk page. If one uses the USPS ZIP Code Lookup page as defining policy, then one can confirm that the City State Keys from the ZIP + 4 product are, indeed, what the USPS wants to see used. And, using the same site, we can determine that it is the state from the City State product, not the state stored in the ZIP + 4 product, that the USPS wants to appear on an envelope. With all this as preface, we need some precision when discussing what is meant by a "ZIP to state" table. If what is wanted is a mapping from ZIP code to the state the USPS wants to appear on an envelope, then the City State product is adequate, and the only exceptions to the 3 leading digits of ZIP Code establishing state are those I itemized above (at least as of the January 2008 City State file). If what is wanted is a mapping from ZIP Code to the state to which that envelope would be delivered, it does not exist. I counted 160 ZIP Codes in the January 2008 ZIP + 4 file that spanned two or more states, 4 of which, 30559, 51640, 57717 and 82082, spanned three states. I am quite certain that no ZIP Code + ZIP 4 add on would span multiple states, but I didn't bother to check. Unless the USPS made an official proclamation that that were the intent, confirmation might just be an accident, or disproof might just be dirty data.

Jpl (talk) 18:32, 20 February 2008 (UTC)

U.S. ZIP codes for other countries

Mail from the US to Canada may bear a US POSTNET code such as 00101-2406 for a Canadian postal code which begins M6R. These codes are not listed on the USPS web site, but are used internally by the USPS to machine-sort mail from the US to other countries. Is there a list of these codes? --Eastmain 03:38, 17 January 2007 (UTC)

U.S. ZIP code required? Notation/formatting?

Hi! I have a few basic questions which I couldn't answer by reading the article:

  • Are ZIP codes an absolute requirement for mailings within the U. S.? Will a mailing arrive at the addressee if the ZIP code is ommitted, i. e. Chicago, IL'?
  • Will a mailing arrive at the addressee if the ZIP code is placed _before_ the city name, i. e. 12345-6789 Chicago, IL?

Thanks in advance! --Jaba82 18:05, 18 March 2007 (UTC)

No, it is not for First Class Mail. For most other kinds of mail, it is. And as for your other question, I don't think putting it before the city name will get it there faster, but may get it there slower by making requiring hand sorting--Wehwalt 21:49, 18 March 2007 (UTC)

I don't bother to put the two-letter state abbreviation anymore. It isn't needed. The zip code sends the letter to the particular post office. Such as Joe Brown 123 any street Raleigh 28525

All my mail seems to get there just fine. Putting "Raleigh, NC 28525 " is redundant. My letter is going to the 28525 post office in Raleigh. The sorting machine already knows where 28525 is. I don't have to tell it. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 07:50, 16 February 2014 (UTC)

Move WTC/Katrina items from section 2.2 to section 4?

I think the information about zip codes 10048 (World Trade Center) and 77230 (post-Katrina refugee shelter at the Houston Astrodome) should be moved from section 2.2 (Structure and Allocation, by type/use) to section 4 (pop culture). 10048 is not a good example of a Unique ZIP code (it is currently classified as Standard, and may have been Unique, Standard, or P.O.-box-only prior to the destruction of the twin towers). The class of 77230 at its creation is similarly unknown (to me, at any rate). These unclear examples of ZIP class don't belong in a section meant to describe ZIP code types or classes. Pop Culture would be a nicer home for them.

More generally, there appears to be some confusion regarding ZIP codes that are "unique" in some common meaning of the word, as opposed to "Unique" in the specific sense of the ZIP code class assigned by the USPS. In particular, the fact that there is a one-to-one correspondence between a ZIP code and a particular building, campus, or complex does not mean that the ZIP code in question is classified as Unique by the USPS. Perhaps the word "unique" should be capitalized throughout the article when referring to the USPS classification; alternately or in addition, synonyms or rephrasings could be used to indicate broader or more casual meanings. 14:54, 23 March 2007 (UTC)

Update: No objections; changes made. 09:47, 28 March 2007 (UTC)

Errors introduced by on 17:14, 1 June 2006 and other problems

Most of the many changes made by on 17:14, 1 June 2006 were erroneous, and most of them are still present in this article. Here's the revision I'm referring to. I corrected his addition of "No." which altered the meaning of the algorithm on bar codes, making it incorrect. However, I don't have the patience to systematically change all the references to "ZIP code" to the proper "ZIP Code" that was formerly used in the article.

It is unfortunate that his edit was not immediately reverted. It appears the only valid improvement he made was to change "US" to "U.S."

In the course of looking for the edit that introduced the "No." error, I also noticed a significant vandalism-related deletion, and the person who undid the vandalism that was introduced did so by manually deleting it rather than reverting to restore the deleted text, so the section on Postal Abbreviations was removed. Perhaps that section is off-topic for this article anyway.

--dreish~talk 17:28, 25 March 2007 (UTC)


How do letters map to numbers in a ZIP+4? —Random832 21:26, 8 October 2007 (UTC)

ZIPs loosely tied to cities

There's a paragraph in the referenced section that includes a few examples of ZIPs where the postal place name (e.g., Kirkwood NJ) refers to a much larger municipal jurisdiction (e.g., Evesham Township, New Jersey). After that section, the paragraph includes two further anecdotal examples (one about the Town of LaGrange, NY and one about Armstrong Township, IN).

I propose deleting those two examples.

In the case of the Armstrong Township example, I believe that the author is mistaken. I went to the Vanderburgh County web site, got a map of the county's eight townships which showed major roads only, and then went to Google Maps in order to assemble a list of a dozen prominent roads in that part of the county which could conceivably fit the description of "Armstrong, Indiana" (as described by Rhatsa26WD). I then went to and did ZIP searches for those roads, and the only ZIP codes that were returned were 47720 and 47725, not the 47617 listed in this paragraph. (By the way, the 47617 referenced in this article maps to HATFIELD IN, in an adjacent county.) Furthermore, the 47720 and 47725 that returned do not map to a postal place name of ARMSTRONG IN but instead are EVANSVILLE IN postal addresses. Perhaps the mail is being delivered successfully to postal customers in Armstrong Twp addressed as "Armstrong, IN 47617", but successful delivery does not mean that the post-office name and ZIP code are correct as written.

In the case of the LaGrange example, the facts as presented are more or less correct (except "Lagrangeville," the postal place name, is not spelled with a mid-word capital G), but the situation is not all that unusual. It's an example that is matched in several states where the political boundaries of a "town" (or "township") do not correspond to a post-office name in its vicinity.

Seeadam 10:37, 13 November 2007 (UTC)

Tend to agree. In the Northeastern states, that is, Pennsylvania and east and north of there, there are a plethora of municipalities. The ZIP Code system had to accept as given a huge number of municipalities and post offices which just "were". Check out the description of the ZIP Code system in Toms River, New Jersey for example. I'd oppose having everyone put in their pet example. For example, I grew up in a borough Woodcliff Lake, New Jersey which before we moved in had a 07680 ZIP Code, throughout my residence there we were 07675 along with four other municipalities, and after I moved out, got an 07677 ZIP code. Go figure. There are so many such examples, which change as the USPS reacts to political pressure, establishment and disestablishment of post offices, etc., etc.--Wehwalt (talk) 15:51, 1 January 2008 (UTC)
Here's the source you need for ZIP codes vs. geography: Technical ZCTA Document. This describes how the Census Bureau converted ZIP codes to geographic areas. ZIP codes are only loosely geographical. 5-digit ZIP codes aren't defined for many unpopulated areas with no mail delivery, or for water areas. ZIP code boundaries are often at the back of lot lines in urban areas (since, for delivery purposes, it's better if both sides of the same street are in the same ZIP code), while census boundaries and political boundaries are in the middle of streets. Census doesn't maintain this map data continuously; they did it for the 2000 census and will do it again in 2010. So there's no official, current ZIP code to map conversion that covers the whole US. --John Nagle (talk) 16:52, 1 January 2008 (UTC)

I suggest we consider deleting or radically scaling back on this section. It really isn't encyclopedic, when you come down to it. I think it is sufficient if we note that ZIP Codes were not meant to follow municipal lines, give a couple of examples, briefly, and let it go.--Wehwalt (talk) 17:48, 1 January 2008 (UTC)


The article currently states in an unsourced paragraph:

By the early 1960s a more general system was needed, and on July 1, 1963, non-mandatory ZIP codes were announced for the whole country.Robert Moon, an employee of the post office, is considered the father of the ZIP code. He submitted his proposal in 1944 while working as a postal inspector.

I just watched a classic episode of CBS's I've Got a Secret (a primetime nationwide U.S. show) and they had on one Bentley Hahn of Springfield, Virginia, whose secret was that he alone came up with the idea for the zip code. No other information was revealed about him, his role or his position at the postal servcie. There is a separate stub on Robert Moon with more about him inventing the zip code. Need I say there's an apparent contradiction here. Google searches are equally contradictory, with separate sources detailing each, separately, as the inventor of the zip code. In any event, the reference, should someone more familiar with this material wish to use it, would be <ref>Bentley Hahn appearance on [[CBS]]' ''[[I've Got a Secret]]'', November 6, 1963. Secret listed as inventor of the ZIP code. Rebroadcast on [[Game Show Network]] on March 4, 2008.</ref>--Fuhghettaboutit (talk) 01:44, 6 March 2008 (UTC)

Can we add this link?

Hi everbody, Do you think that this link: would be suitable for this article? All the Best. Shane (talk) 21:07, 19 May 2008 (UTC)

In popular culture section

The trivia/in popular culture section is starting to get out of hand. There are millions of cultural/TV references to ZIP codes out there, and most of the ones that are mentioned are minor and irrelevant to the general topic. I propose that the list either be deleted or drastically reduced, and perhaps a prose section can be added on the significance of ZIP codes in TV and popular culture. --TheCatalyst31 ReactionCreation 22:58, 26 June 2008 (UTC)

I support deletion in its entirety.--Wehwalt (talk) 13:35, 27 June 2008 (UTC)

I do NOT support total deletion of the list. A agree it could use a good pruning though. --PopularData (talk) 16:43, 29 June 2008 (UTC)

I've cut it back to four that seemed be widely known, and deleted the ones that were mere passing reference to ZIP codes.--Wehwalt (talk) 12:22, 30 June 2008 (UTC)


Section 2 under "By type/use" says: "There are four types of ZIP codes: Unique..., P.O.-box-only..., Military... and Standard..." but then the sub-section entitled "Non-standard examples" reads: "A few ZIP codes fall outside the three types..." . . . jg (talk) 18:29, 8 July 2008 (UTC)

Be bold. Fix it.--Wehwalt (talk) 21:20, 8 July 2008 (UTC)

Formatting problem

The page appears to have a rather serious formatting problem, or has been vandalised or corrupted somehow. Large chunks of text are unreadable and malformatted. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 22:32, 1 December 2008

ZIP code to Zone Improvement Plan code

Shouldn't we stop using acronyms as article titles and start using the terms in full. Like FIPS state code Redirects to Federal Information Processing Standard state code Mr Taz(talk) 16:14, 30 November 2008 (UTC)

Regardless of what may have been true in 1963, do you have info that this is still the official term? I would say that we should leave it alone, you should put the article at the most common search term, and that is for sure ZIP Code.--Wehwalt (talk) 03:52, 2 December 2008 (UTC)


Does anyone know what percent of zip codes are actually in use? In theory this would not be difficult if one had an exhaustive list of ZIP codes, but I do not know whether such a list exists in a form easily readable by computer.RSido (talk) 04:49, 3 November 2009 (UTC)

Area of average zipcode

I am looking for the area of the average zipcode, but could not find it on this page. (talk) 02:22, 12 December 2009 (UTC)

I guess we don't have that information, sorry.--Wehwalt (talk) 02:54, 12 December 2009 (UTC)
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