Area codes and their diminishing cultural significance

October 13, 2011|Liz F. Kay

After the news about the new area code that will be available around Baltimore and on the Eastern Shore broke, I spoke with Sheri Parks, an American Studies professor at the University of Maryland about the significance of area codes in our lives.

We discussed how many people hang on to a cell phone number even after they have moved on to a new town. She described area codes as a marker that offers a window into one's background.

I'm sure most people keep their old numbers out of convenience --- you don't have to learn a new seven digits and you don't have to force your friends and relatives to update their address books and cell phone directories.

Others probably avoid changing numbers to remain on a family cell phone plan.

But I'm wondering if others keep their number for other reasons --- nostalgia for a hometown? Perhaps some area codes have the cache of more prestigious locale?

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