Area codes 213 and 323 are telephone area codes in the North American Numbering Plan (NANP) for the state of California. They are assigned to a numbering plan area (NPA) that comprises, roughly, the area of central Los Angeles, and includes several Southeast LA communities, such as Bell and Huntington Park. The area codes designated separate NPAs starting in 1998, when 323 was added, but were combined in an overlay plan into a single NPA in 2017. Previously, just downtown Los Angeles and immediately adjoining neighborhoods were served by area code 213, and the rest of central Los Angeles used area 323. Area code 213 is one of the original area codes created with the NANP in 1947, and was split five times over the decades.
In 1947, when the American Telephone and Telegraph Company (AT&T) devised the initial form of the North American Numbering Plan, the state of California was divided into three numbering plan areas: 213, 415, and 916, for the southern, central, and northern parts of the state, respectively. The area served by 213 extended from Mexican border to the Central Coast. In 1950, the boundary between 213 and 415 was realigned toward the north, requiring the southern portion of the Central Valley, including Bakersfield, to change from area code 415 to 213.
As a result of southern California's rapid expansion of telephone service during the second half of the 20th century, area code 213 was split five times in the period from 1951 to 1998. In the 21st century area code overlays have become more practical.
1951–1998: Area code splits
The first split became necessary in 1951, when most of the southern and eastern portion, including San Diego and most of Orange County, was assigned area code 714. In 1957, 213 was restricted to Los Angeles County, with most of the northern and western portions receiving area code 805. This configuration was stable for almost three decades, until 1984, when the San Fernando Valley and the San Gabriel Valley received area code 818, thus making Los Angeles one of the first major cities in the US to be split into two numbering plan areas—New York City experienced this later in the same year. In 1991, West Los Angeles and the South Bay were assigned area code 310.
In 1998, the Los Angeles NPA was divided once more, to create area code 323. Area code 213 was kept by Los Angeles exchanges 1 (Downtown/Echo Park), 7 (South Park/Exposition Park) and 10 (Westlake/Koreatown), while exchanges 2 (Silverlake/Los Feliz), 3 (Eagle Rock/Highland Park), 4 (El Sereno/Lincoln Heights), 5 (Boyle Heights/East Los Angeles), 6 (Watts/Vernon/South Gate), 8 (South Los Angeles), 9 (Hyde Park/Athens), 11 (West Adams/Jefferson Park), 12 (Leimert Park/Baldwin Hills), 13 (Hancock Park/Fairfax District) and 14 (Hollywood/Hollywood Hills) switched to area code 323. This split made 213 one of the geographically smallest numbering plan areas in the nation, covering only Downtown Los Angeles and its immediately adjoining neighborhoods, such as Chinatown. Completely surrounding 213, 323 included most of the remainder of central Los Angeles, including Hollywood, as well as several neighboring cities, including Bell, Huntington Park and Montebello.
Since 2017: Overlay codes
Despite Southern California's continued growth and the proliferation of cell phones and pagers, 213 was not projected to exhaust until 2050. In contrast, 323 was projected to exhaust in 2017. Since 213 still had an abundance of numbers available, the California Public Utilities Commission approved a plan that erased the boundaries between both area codes, converting the area to an overlay plan for all of central Los Angeles. Since this change went into full effect on July 8, 2017, telephone companies have been able to assign any available 213 numbers in the former 323 area and vice versa, and customers with 213 or 323 phone numbers have been required to dial the area code for all calls within the area. This change returned 213 to some areas that had used it for more than half a century prior to 1998.
In popular culture
Area code 213 is referenced in Warren G and Nate Dogg's song "Regulate", Dr. Dre's "Still D.R.E.", Snoop Dogg's "Imagine", the Electric Six song "I'm the Bomb", LL Cool J's song "Going Back to Cali", Whitney Houston's song "It's Not Right but It's Okay", the Transplants song "Diamonds and Guns", Eminem's "Shake That", "Area Codes" by Ludacris featuring Nate Dogg, and Hollywood Undead's "California" off of their debut album Swan Songs.
The Los Angeles Clippers mascot, Chuck the Condor, has the jersey number 213. The 2019-2020 Clippers' two most prominent players wore jersey numbers that combined to read '213'. The 2019-2020 Lakers' two most prominent players wore jersey numbers that combined to read '323'.
- Alhambra (mostly served by area code 626)
- Bell Gardens (also served by area code 562)
- Beverly Hills (mostly served by area code 310)
- City Terrace
- Commerce (small portion in area code 562)
- East Los Angeles
- Hawthorne (mostly served by area code 310)
- Huntington Park
- Inglewood (mostly served by area code 310)
- Ladera Heights (also served by area code 310)
- West Hollywood (also served by area code 310)
- Los Angeles
- Lynwood (mostly served by area code 310)
- Monterey Park (also served by area code 626)
- Pasadena (mostly served by area code 626)
- Rosemead (mostly served by area code 626)
- South Gate (small portions served by area codes 562 and 310)
- South Pasadena (also served by area code 626)
- View Park Windsor Hills
- Walnut Park
- West Athens (small portion served by area code 310)
- NANPA, Bellcore Information Letter IL-90/08-055
- Prosper, Terry (July 14, 2016). "CPUC Provides For More Phone Numbers in 323 Area Code" (PDF). California Public Utilities Commission website. Retrieved August 24, 2017.
- "323 Area Code". California Public Utilities Commission website. Retrieved August 24, 2017.
- LA Clippers Introduce New MascottXX Chuck
- "323 Area Code Background". California Public Utilities Commission website. Retrieved August 24, 2017.
- NANPA area code map of California
- California Public Utilities Commission's "Report on the 213 Area Code
|North: 747/818, 626|
|West: 310/424||213/323||East: 626|
|South: 310/424, 562|