The secret life of area codes and America’s unspoken regional pride

This article was written completely by a human, not saying it’s any better than AI -but a human nonetheless.

So after being involved with phone numbers from cities all across the globe for well over a decade I got to thinking – isn’t it interesting how us Americans have a specific culture thing for area codes? 

We have songs, movies, and cultural references galore when it comes to area codes. Ludacris – “Area codes” anyone?

Another interesting point is that even though technology has dramatically shifted though the years (when it comes to telecommunications), area codes and their cultural significance has remained. Here’s a post we did last year on “Atalanta 404 day” – an annual event literally named after the area code. 

Does anyone know what area code Jenny’s phone number is?

Famous 8675309 Jenny song

While researching the topic I tried to find other countries that share similar qualities, are the Germans from Stuttgart proud of their 711 prefix? It would seem the area code phenomenon is mostly prevalent in the states. 

…everybody from the 313 put your ‘….’ hands up and follow me..


One under-riding theory is that once populations in US cities started to boom, devices needed phone numbers (phones, modems, fax machines etc) , which in turn caused new area codes to be introduced. Those with the “original” area code held on to it, perhaps as a sense of local pride. I know that having a 212 NYC number is still very sought after, even though incoming/outgoing from a 212 is no different than a NYC 347 or 646 , one is $2.95 a month and the other $29.95 a month – humans are interesting.

US area codes used to have the city/town name in them

Another neat history factoid is that US area codes started off with letters in them, indicating the city/town they came from. One could see how the area code would become culturally attached to its respective territory. I must also admit this is something I’ve only learned recently, I’ve been living in the Middle East for the last decade – apparently things are a little different here. 

No one here uses their Jerusalem 02 or their Tel Aviv 03 phone numbers to represent their “locale”. 

The differences between these 2 cities and their cultures is sometimes so stark you could give each one their own country code and call it a day. 

Do you have an area code you’re proud to represent? Or perhaps a relevant story you can share? Let us know!

By Nader Jaber

Helping people communicate while trying to improve as a communicator myself.

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