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Say I have an address like:

123 Main St., Bldg. #456
Schenectady, NY, 12345

I know the chunk I put on first line is called the "Street Address", but what is the chunk I put on the second line called? I just call it the "City/State/Zip", but I want a more general term, especially for international addresses where there aren't states or zip codes, like:

PO Box 4001 Stn A
Victoria BC V8X 3X4

1-5-3 Yaesu, Chuo-ku
Tokyo 100-8994.

3 Edgar Buildings, George Street
Bath, England, BA1 2FJ

I find that most addresses, if not all, can be separated into these two parts:

  1. A very granular piece that answers questions like "What building on what street?" and "What room in that building?" It's usually no less precise than a hundred meters and can stand alone without any more information to pinpoint a location.
  2. A very general piece that answers questions like "What part of what country?" "What district?" This one's usually no more precise than a few kilometers, and can generally be exposed publicly without violating privacy.

I was spurred to find this term when tasked with creating a form where a customer must input their address. I started by modelling it off established paper and online forms like these, which have "Home address", "Address Line n", or "Street address" in distinctly separate fields from the city, state/province/city, and zip/postal code:

Voter registration forms

A sample of a voter registration form displaying fields for "Home Address", "Apt. or Lot #", "City/Town", "State", and "Zip Code".

Employment Applications

A sample of a employment application form displaying fields for "Street Address", "Apartment/Unit #", "City", "State", and "Zip Code".

Certificate Applications

A sample of a certificate application form displaying fields for "Address Line 1", "Address Line 2", "Suburb/Town", "State", and "Postalcode".

Basic shipping address forms

A sample of a shipping address form with fields for "Name", "Address", "Address", "City", "State", and "Zip".

Ad nauseum. The examples are easy to find by Googling "example _______ form".

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    "Street Address" isn't the name of the line, it's the name of that piece of information. And do note that addressing conventions vary significantly from place to place. I don't think this is a question about English language and usage so much as it is about postal terminology.
    – choster
    Mar 28, 2016 at 14:10
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    'Second line' depends on the convention. It might not include the town if there is a district/suburb, and it might not include the country, post/zip-code, state/county ... Mar 28, 2016 at 14:32
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    In America, we tend to call it either "Address line N" (for N from 2 to 4) or "City-State-Zip". In general terms, you might refer to it as "Regional information" or "geographical detail" or something like that, but I'm not aware of it having any specific name.
    – Hellion
    Mar 28, 2016 at 15:37
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    The difference is not geographical precision. It is about unambiguity. The first part is the address, relative to a street, post office, or local landmark. The second part is the zone within which the address is unambiguous. For example, when the address is 101 Main Street, the zone identifies which 101 Main Street.
    – MetaEd
    Mar 28, 2016 at 20:14
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    See Notes to Reviewers about reopening questions. I think your 2-part split is interesting, as is your justification for it to be letterbox-specific vs broad locale. One sticking point is that the half-dozen or so items already has a graduated geographic scale. What's so special about the 100m to several km zone that it should have established names for the zones/scales on either side? I don't know the answer, but if you can get a good answer to it, ping me and I'll vote to reopen. It must be a good answer, though.
    – Lawrence
    Mar 29, 2016 at 15:13

1 Answer 1

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There does not seem to be a generally accepted term for the part of a street address which identifies the city, state, and postal code. I suggest you choose a term that makes sense to you and define it for your readers.

One interagency committee called the “Address Standards Working Group” has worked on the problem of a street address data standard. They called these parts, separately and together, the Larger Areas of the street address. Maybe you will find that choice useful.

(The larger areas are what make the street name and number unambiguous. For example, there are many 101 Main Streets. Identifying a larger area which resolves the ambiguity is necessary, such as “Hazlet, Texas” or “50112”.)

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