The area code was created in October 1947, along with area code 715, as one of the two original area codes assigned to Wisconsin. The numbering plan area (NPA) originally included most of the southern and northeastern parts of Wisconsin, stretching from Lake Michigan to the Minnesota and Iowa borders. 715, then as now, covered the remaining northwestern part.
The numbering plan area was first split in 1955, when much of the western portion, including Madison, received area code 608. This configuration remained in place until July 26, 1997, when the northern half, including Green Bay and the Fox River Valley, became numbering plan area 920.
The creation of 920 was intended as a long-term solution, but within a year 414 was close to exhaustion once again due to the proliferation of cell phones and pagers. In 1998, the North American Numbering Plan Administration assigned area code 262 as a second area code for southeastern Wisconsin. The initial proposal called for 262 to be an overlay for the 414 territory. However, overlays were a new concept at the time, and met with considerable resistance due to the requirement for ten-digit dialing. As a result, effective September 25, 1999, the new area code was implemented as a geographic split, with nearly all of the old 414 territory outside of Milwaukee County transferring to 262.
Today, area code 414 covers all of Milwaukee County, including the city of Milwaukee. It also serves slivers of Waukesha County, including portions of Muskego and Brookfield, as well as the industrial "Ambrosia triangle" which is within the Milwaukee city limits. The Milwaukee portion of Washington County, mostly an industrial area, also stayed in 414 after the split.
Milwaukee is the center of one of the largest toll-free calling zones in the country. No long-distance charges are applied from one portion of the 414 territory to another; portions of the 262 territory, such as Racine, Waukesha, and Menomonee Falls, are a local call to and from Milwaukee as well. Despite the Milwaukee area's continued growth, 414 is nowhere near exhaustion. The latest projections did not list an exhaust date for 414, meaning that the Milwaukee area will not need another area code for at least 30 years.
Area code 414 has telephone numbers assigned for the central office code 988. 988 has been designated nationwide as a dialing code for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, which creates a conflict for exchanges that permit seven-digit dialing. This area code is therefore scheduled to transition to ten-digit dialing, mandatory after October 24, 2021. 414 had been one of the few urbanized area codes without an overlay, making Milwaukee one of the largest cities where seven-digit dialing was still possible.
In popular culture
The City of Milwaukee started celebrating Milwaukee Day in 2009. It is celebrated on April 14, or 4-14, in honor of Milwaukee's area code.
- Local calling guide: Milwaukee Zone 1, WI
- "2020-2 NRUF and NPA Exhaust Analysis" (PDF). North American Numbering Plan Administration. Retrieved February 2, 2020.
- "Transition to 10-digit dialing (for 988 as 3-digit access to National Suicide Prevention Hotline)" (PDF). North American Numbering Plan Administrator. January 8, 2021. Retrieved March 9, 2021.
- Radcliffe, JR (July 27, 2018). "The new Bucks arena is called Fiserv Forum, and naturally, everybody freaked out". Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Retrieved November 21, 2018.
- Jannene, Jeramey (September 28, 2018). "Bike to a Bucks Game". Urban Milwaukee. Retrieved November 21, 2018.
|West: 262||Area Code 414||East: Lake Michigan, 616|
|Michigan area codes: 231, 248/947, 269, 313, 517, 586, 616, 734, 810, 906, 989|