The Most Popular Area Codes in the US

US most popular area codes

The three digits that precede a US phone number typically represent specific cities and towns. However, not all of them are treated equally. Some are instantly recognizable and in high demand by phone users.

What makes certain area codes so desirable, and which ones have surpassed others in popularity? These are the questions we explore in this article. But first, let’s take a look at how the three-digit telephone prefix came into being.

Area Codes: A Brief History

Area codes were first assigned under the North American Numbering Plan (NANP), which was created by the American Telephone and Telegraph Company (AT&T) for the Bell System and independent phone carriers.

The first phone numbers in the early days had different formats. So, the goal of the NANP was to introduce a uniform numbering system that enabled faster call connections and reduced costs for 25 regions in the North American and Caribbean geographies.

The original area code plan included 86 codes. However, over time, new overlay area codes were added to serve cities with large populations.

Demand was the key factor that influenced the expansion of the three-digit area code. Although in certain cases, an entire state relies on a single code, many others that are densely populated have two codes or more.

Nowadays, area codes are prefixed to both landlines and mobile numbers. But not all of them are assigned or used in the US.

For instance, according to Nuwber, there are currently 40 3XX area codes allocated to American phone users. Some, such as 306 and 345, belong to regions outside the US, while 300, 322, 333, and the like are reserved for non-geographic assignment.

Allocating easily recognizable codes (ERCs) for non-geographic purposes has been a common practice under the NANP. The code 900 attached to toll free numbers and 988 used as a helpline for Suicide & Crisis Lifeline are examples of this.

As of the end of 2023, the US had 335 area codes in total, including 317 geographic codes and 18 non-geographic ones.

Among them, a few stand out, commanding a premium price tag. But what makes them more appealing than others? Let’s examine this further.

What Makes an Area Code Popular?

When original area codes are associated with specific regions for decades, they become an important part of the collective identity of that geographic location.

For residents of such cities and towns, their area codes are much more than a mere three digits; They symbolize local pride.

Meanwhile, the popularity of some codes is linked to prestige and status. Take, for example, those representing the exclusive neighborhoods and high-end business districts in New York City, Los Angeles, and other metropolitan areas.

These are prestigious area codes that are sure to make an impression wherever you go, whether you are an individual or a business. Having a phone number preceded by highly regarded three digits could significantly elevate your standing and influencing power in social and business circles.

The bottom line is, an area code is no longer just an identifier of a physical location for the sake of connecting phone lines.

Certain three digits have become popular for their economic, historic, cultural, and social significance, too, making them an inherent part of the identity of cities and individuals.

The Most Popular Area Codes in the US

what are the most popular US area codes

What are the most desirable three digits in America right now?

202

Representing Washington, DC, this is a highly recognized area code in the US.

202 is among the original codes issued in 1947 under the NANP, and it has continued to serve the District of Columbia ever since. In 2021, however, 771 was added as an overlay for the same area due to the rising number of phone users. This hasn’t, of course, affected 202’s appeal.

This code is often linked to government agencies. But you don’t need to be a federal employee to own a number with 202.

Keep in mind though, obtaining new phone numbers with the prefix is fairly challenging and may involve a hefty premium.

212

The swanky neighborhoods of Manhattan have made 212 one of the most popular area codes to have.

In its early days, this code was assigned to all five boroughs of New York City, NY. But, before long, a single area code wasn’t enough for the city’s booming population, and the introduction of splits and overlays became inevitable.

But Manhattan numbers carrying 212 are still in demand, mainly due to their association with success and prestige.

Having said that, this area code is extremely rare. So, anyone new to the borough may likely need to settle with 646 or 332.

305

Florida first received its own area code in 1947 when 305 was assigned to the entire state.

Over the decades, the state’s population has surged considerably, especially in the metropolitan areas with vibrant business districts. Florida’s warm weather, eclectic music scene, progressive art and fashion culture, and entertainment and culinary options have all contributed to the influx of people.

As a consequence, the state has needed several splits and overlays, resulting in multiple area codes.

Who uses 305 today? The southeastern regions of Florida — mostly parts of Miami and its suburbs, Miami-Dade County, and the Florida Keys.

310

Although 310 is not one of the original numbers of the NANP, it certainly ranks among the most sought after area codes in Los Angeles, CA, the most populous city in the state of California.

310 was first introduced in 1991 as a split for 213. Then, in 1997, the numbering plan area of 310 was split with the introduction of 562.

Despite the 424 overlay added in 2006, 310 is still the most favored three digits of Los Angeles residents and businesses alike.

It has become a status symbol, being firmly ingrained into the Southern California identity. For individuals, 310 signals wealth, fame, glamor, and a high-flying social life, and for businesses, it is synonymous with prestige, influence, and power.

415

When 415 was first assigned in 1947, it represented the central parts of California.

Today, this area code belongs to San Francisco and nearby northern areas, and it has become a prestigious phone area code for both startups and big corporations. The tech boom of Silicon Valley certainly has had a role to play in this.

650

This is a favorite area code of residents in the South San Francisco Bay area, south of 415.

It covers part of San Francisco, most of San Mateo counties, and other affluent neighborhoods in the likes of Palo Alto.

Needless to say, the wealth and success of Silicon Valley have made 650 an influential area code to possess, especially if you are in the tech space.

702

702 was assigned to Nevada at the beginning. However, as demand for phone numbers grew, it was solely allocated to the largest city in the state, Las Vegas, and a few nearby areas.

What makes 702 stand out from other area codes? It serves as a reminder of Las Vegas’ celebrated entertainment and hospitality sector, the booming real estate economy, and vibrant and lavish social life.

For anyone moving to Las Vegas, owning a 702 number is an important step in becoming a part of the fame, wealth, and exuberance the city is known for.

949

Introduced in 1998, 949 represents southern parts of Orange County, including Irvine, Laguna Beach, and Newport Beach.

The secret to this area code’s appeal primarily lies in the wealthy neighborhoods it represents and the area’s thriving economy. 949 can instantly elevate your social stature and get you entry into prominent business circles. 

The good news is that, currently, there is no overlay for 949. This means you can still get hold of a phone number with this three-digit code if you wish to do so.

To Recap

area codes are a part of people's identity

Since the 1940s, area codes have been an important prefix for identifying a local number.

However, today, certain codes stand out as social and cultural symbols linked to specific locations, while others have become part of their owners’ identity and personal history. In some cases, they represent prestige and social status, making them highly sought-after area codes.

FAQ

Is it possible to get any area code I want in my city?

Obtaining a particular area code is possible as long as it is available. However, if a code is already exhausted, getting hold of it could be challenging and would often involve a premium charge.

What is the most prestigious area code in the US?

Some of the impressive codes that are in high demand include 212 of Manhattan, 310 of Los Angeles, and 415 and 650 belonging to the San Francisco area.

The upmarket neighborhoods and thriving business districts they represent make them highly desirable three-digits to own.

Which states have only one area code?

Currently, there are 11 states served by a single area code—Alaska, Hawaii, Delaware, New Hampshire, Maine, Montana, Vermont, Wyoming, Rhode Island, and North and South Dakota.

Which state has the most area codes?

California tops the list with 40 codes. Los Angeles alone has 11, with a new overlay planned for November 2024.

What is the oldest area code?

Out of the 86 area codes assigned in 1947, 201 was allocated first. It belonged to New Jersey, the most densely populated state in the US.

Eugene Kirdzei
Eugene Kirdzei

Chief Technical Officer at Nuwber
With nearly two decades of experience in the IT industry, Eugene possesses comprehensive knowledge across his professional field, including in data management, data protection, and information search. Through his writing, he aims to provide valuable insights and practical advice on how to safely explore the online environment and leverage digital tools to enhance people’s lives.