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Why do I need a ZIP Code

Cities and Suburbs Read more from
Chapter Transportation and Urban Geography

ZIP (Zone Improvement Program) Codes were created by the U.S. Postal Service in 1963 to help sort and distribute mail more effectively. Each ZIP Code represents a specific geographic area, with each digit further pinpointing the recipient’s address. For instance, the first digit (0—9) of each ZIP Code represents an area of the United States, from “0” in the Northeast to “9” in the West.

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