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The Boston Globe


Phone area codes say increasingly less about where people live

Ja-Nae Duane lives in Concord — squarely 978 territory — but when the director of social media at Overdrive Interactive gives out her phone number, it starts with a 434. “I’m not even sure where that is,” Duane, 35, said of her area code. “Oklahoma maybe? Kentucky?”

Neither. Technically, the 434 area is in Virginia. But it doesn’t really matter anymore. In recent years, several factors have combined to create a growing mismatch between where people live and where their area codes would lead you to believe they reside, rendering a once-vital piece of identifying information increasingly meaningless. The unpredictability is more common with mobile phones, but home phones can be deceptive, too.

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