Town Bans the Number Four from New Addresses Because It Freaks Out Chinese People

The Richmond Hill Town Council (near Toronto) had decided that no new housing developments can use the number 4.

The reason:

In Cantonese and Mandarin, “four” sounds similar to “death.” Because of the number of requests the town receives for address changes, council decided to skip the number going forward in a five-four vote earlier this month.

Numbers like 14 and 24 are still allowed, and people who live in homes marked with a four can apply for a suffix, like 4B.

4 is the new 13…

I can’t decide whether I’m mad at the town for caving in to some group’s idiotic superstitions, or I’m fine with it since having houses numbered 4 would hurt the town in the long run. It’s a little of both… At least in this case, you can make an economic argument in support of it:

Having a 4 in the address can lower a home’s value — “Agents estimate anywhere between $25,000 and $35,000,” Graham Canning says.

Still, I wonder where the line gets drawn. One source in the article explained the condo developers are eliminating floors “four, 13, 14 or 24″ from their buildings. That’s ridiculous. And the people on floor five are just lying to themselves.

It’s madness that gets validated because the city’s doing what it has to do. I can’t blame them, but I can still curse the fact that they have to cater to superstition because it’s so prevalent in the community.

About Hemant Mehta

Hemant Mehta is the editor of Friendly Atheist, appears on the Atheist Voice channel on YouTube, and co-hosts the uniquely-named Friendly Atheist Podcast. You can read much more about him here.


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