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How zip codes helped organize America

The ‘zip’ in zip code stands for The Zone Improvement Plan, an address code system that was invented in 1963 to help the United States Postal Service (USPS) deliver the increasing amount of mail being sent around the country. Each subset of numbers within the zip code identifies where you live with 10 main regions of the country (numbered 0-9 at the national level), followed by two digits that identify the larger post offices where mail is sorted, and two digits for the smaller city post office that delivers to your address.

From the team at Vox: How zip codes helped organize America. They also explore geocoding, which uses latitudes and longitudes to identify specific locations.

Watch this next: United States Postal Service Systems at Work.

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