News & Politics

DC’s New Area Code Starts Today

People are already hating on 771. We're not so sure.

As of Tuesday, DC has officially lost its status as a one-area-code city. But don’t fret. You can still rep the District with your 202 hoodies and T-shirts.

The District of Columbia Public Service Commission says that current phone numbers with the 202 area code won’t change. The area code may be assigned to residents who change their phone numbers on and after Tuesday. So if you plan to change your phone number anytime soon, you should look into getting a 771 hoodie.

This change isn’t just for any reason. The North American Numbering Plan Administrator announced last year that DC would soon run out of new phone numbers. As of October 2021, their exhaust forecast now says that the 202 supply could be gone as soon as the end of 2021.

Naturally, Washingtonians are already picking on the new code. To 202 veterans, having a 771 ahead of your number will apparently mark you as a newbie, some sort of DC rookie who probably also stands on the left side of Metro escalators and can’t navigate diagonal avenues. But must the new number be a negative? Looked at another way, dynamic 771 is so much fresher than pokey old 202, a number so oversubscribed that they literally ran out. More practically, there will be fewer spam calls with a 771 area code because no one has ever had that number. What’s better: being cool or having fewer robo-calls?

Correction: An earlier version of this article stated that the 771 area code will be assigned to residents who change their phone numbers on and after Tuesday. The wording has been changed to reflect that people can still be assigned phone numbers with the 202 area code.

Damare Baker
Research Editor

Before becoming Research Editor, Damare Baker was an Editorial Fellow and Assistant Editor for Washingtonian. She has previously written for Voice of America and The Hill. She is a graduate of Georgetown University, where she studied international relations, Korean, and journalism.