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The Zip Code Ensures that Your Postal Mail Reaches Its Destination

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If you send a letter or a package to an address in the United States, there is a number you must always include. This number is referred to as the Zip Code.

It is a five-digit number. This number designates a specific area within the country.

This number was first used in 1963. Originally, it was conceived as a five-digit number.  To identify more specific places, the ZIP+4 format was introduced 20 years later. This format included the original five-digit code, a hyphen, and an additional four numbers.

Using the right five-digit number is necessary. Otherwise, your letters or packages may not reach their destination. If you do not know which number you should use, you can consult the zip codes for US online. On this website, you can find the corresponding code for a specific location. You can use any of the following tools:

  • A lookup bar. You can type in your address, and the tool will display a geolocation map. On the map, the place of the address will be indicated and its corresponding Zip Code will be given. Alternatively, if you have the five-digit number, you can use this tool to find the area that corresponds to it. Be aware that the same number could be used in other countries. Hence, the tool also returns a database in which you can select the country that you want to verify (in this case the United States);
  • A world zip code map. This is an interactive map. You can zoom in and out, and see the entire territory of the United States. All the states are divided into different postal geographic areas. Each area is identified by its corresponding 5-digit code;
  • A list of all the American states. You can browse each state independently to find the code of a specific area, city, or town.

You should know that the lookup bar is the only tool that provides both five-digit and ZIP+4 codes. The interactive map and the list provide five-digit codes only.

What Is the Importance of These Codes?

Sometimes, people wonder why five-digit or a ZIP+4 numbers are needed at all. These numbers are used by the USPS and other delivery companies to ease the machine sorting of mail. With the help of a number, a barcode can be given to each letter or package. This way, planning an optimal delivery route is easier.

The use of these codes has sped up the delivery of postal mail in the United States. The USPS may need to deliver millions of packages and letters daily in a large city. Employees just need to scan the barcodes instead of reading individual addresses. This is why a missing code may cause a delay in the delivery of your package or letter. In some cases, the piece of mail may not be delivered at all. This is why you always must use any of the tools described herein.

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