Free ZIP Code Database

For some applications, a free database will work fine, but not always ...


We've seen some links to low cost or free ZIP Code databases and wanted to provide you with some free advice about these.

We all like free and as long as you know what you're getting - and not getting - then you can make an informed decision.

How Many ZIP Codes Are There?

As of the summer of 2012, there were 41,854 ZIP Codes. But wait, there's more ...

Over 500 of them are military APO / FPO codes. Some are in the Caribbean like Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Some are in the South Pacific such as Guam, Marshal Islands, etc.

Consider the Source

If you get a copy of the Census Bureau's ZCTAs (see our ZIP Code vs. ZCTA page if you don't know what a ZCTA is), you'll only get about 33,000 ZIP Codes. Why? Because the Census only provides the ZIPs of populated places (many ZIPs are for PO Boxes or exclusively used by businesses or government agencies). This will work fine if you just need some test data, but not so good in a commercial application.

Some free or cheap products are old databases. Again, fine for test data. If you want current, clean data, you would want to steer clear of these. Here's a link to a page at that provides you with some links to free data and even more things that you may want to consider.