How do ZIP Codes work in USA?

Submitted by Webmaster on Tue, 2019-11-05 11:51
What does each number in the US 5-digit ZIP code mean?
The first digit designates a broad area, which ranges from zero for the Northeast to nine for the far West. Numbers increase as you move west. For example, 0 stands for the North East and 9 for the far West. Several states share one digit , for example, 2 represents the District of Columbia, Maryland, North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia and West Virginia.

The second and third digits represent regions within the state, refering to a central post office facility in that region. The first three digits create the Sectional Center Facility (SCF) code. SCFs are the regional headquarters for mail sorting and distribution.

The fourth and fifth digits represent more specific areas, refering to small post offices or postal zones. Like post offices and postal delivery zones within a city or town.

ZIP + 4 has four extra digits that identify a specific segment of the five-digit delivery area — like a city block, office building or individual high-volume mail receiver.

However, how does ZIP Code work?
Let's look up it.

What actually happens when you drop a letter into a mailbox?
First:you have written the letter correctly, put it in your mailbox, public inbox, or post office. The postal carrier collects your letter and the rest of the mail from the box and takes it to the post office and the mail processing plant.

Second: at the mail processing plant, machines separate mail by shape and size. They also orient the packages so their addresses are right-side up and facing the same direction. Your letter gets its postmark, and machines print cancellation lines across postage stamps to prevent them from being reused. A unique fluorescent bar code is imprinted on the back of each piece of mail. An optical scanner scans the address, and then a bar code representing the specific address is sprayed on the front of the envelope. If the scanner can't read the address, the letter is manually sorted.

Then:other processing machines read the bar codes and direct the letters into bins based on ZIP codes — this indicates the next processing plant, in the region where the letter will ultimately be delivered. (Each post office is served by a mail processing plant.) From the bins, the letters are sorted into trays by ZIP code and flown or trucked to the next processing.

Finally:at the final processing plant, sorting machines read the bar codes and sort the letters by carrier and into delivery order for that carrier. The letters are taken to the individual post offices, and the carriers load the trays into their individual vehicles for final delivery.

This is the whole process of a ZIP Code work.

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