The United States of America is a federal republic consisting of 50 states, a federal district (Washington, D.C., the capital city of the United States), five major territories, and various minor islands. The 48 contiguous states and Washington, D.C., are in central North America between Canada and Mexico; the two other states, Alaska and Hawaii, are in the northwestern part of North America and an archipelago in the mid-Pacific, respectively, while the territories are scattered throughout the Pacific Ocean and the Caribbean Sea.
States are the primary subdivisions of the United States, and possess a number of powers and rights under the United States Constitution, such as regulating intrastate commerce, running elections, creating local governments, and ratifying constitutional amendments. Each state has its own constitution, grounded in republican principles, and government, consisting of three branches: executive, legislative, and judicial. All states and their residents are represented in the federal Congress, a bicameral legislature consisting of the Senate and the House of Representatives. Each state is represented by two senators, while representatives are distributed among the states in proportion to the most recent constitutionally mandated decennial census. Additionally, each state is entitled to select a number of electors to vote in the Electoral College, the body that elects the president of the United States, equal to the total of representatives and senators in Congress from that state. Article IV, Section 3, Clause 1 of the Constitution grants to Congress the authority to admit new states into the Union. Since the establishment of the United States in 1776, the number of states has expanded from the original 13 to the current total of 50, and each new state is admitted on an equal footing with the existing states.
As provided by Article I, Section 8 of the Constitution, Congress exercises "exclusive jurisdiction" over the federal district, which is not part of any state. Prior to passage of the 1973 District of Columbia Home Rule Act, which devolved certain Congressional powers to an elected mayor and council, the district did not have an elected local government. Even so, Congress retains the right to review and overturn laws created by the council and intervene in local affairs. As it is not a state, the district does not have representation in the Senate. However, since 1971, its residents have been represented in the House of Representatives by a non-voting delegate. Additionally, since 1961, following ratification of the 23rd Amendment, the district has been entitled to select three electors to vote in the Electoral College.
In addition to the 50 states and federal district, the United States has sovereignty over 14 territories. Five of them (American Samoa, Guam, the Northern Mariana Islands, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands) have a permanent, nonmilitary population, while nine of them do not. With the exception of Navassa Island, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands, which are located in the Caribbean, all territories are located in the Pacific Ocean. One territory, Palmyra Atoll, is considered to be incorporated, meaning the full body of the Constitution has been applied to it; the other territories are unincorporated, meaning the Constitution does not fully apply to them. Ten territories (the Minor Outlying Islands and American Samoa) are considered to be unorganized, meaning they have not had an Organic Act enacted by Congress; the four other territories are organized, meaning they have had an Organic Act that has been enacted by Congress. The five inhabited territories each have limited autonomy and a non-voting delegate in Congress, in addition to having territorial legislatures and governors, but residents cannot vote in federal elections.
California is the most populous state, with 38,332,521 residents (2013 estimate); Wyoming is the least populous, with an estimated 582,658 residents. The District of Columbia, with an estimated 646,449 residents as of 2012, has a higher population than the two least populous states (Wyoming and Vermont). The largest state by area is Alaska, encompassing 665,384 square miles (1,723,340 km2), while the smallest is Rhode Island, encompassing 1,545 square miles (4,000 km2). The first state to ratify the current Constitution was Delaware, which it did on December 7, 1787, while the newest state is Hawaii, which was admitted to the Union on August 21, 1959. The largest territory in terms of both population and size is Puerto Rico, with 3,725,789 residents as of the 2010 Census and a total area of 5,325 square miles (13,790 km2).
The table below lists the 50 states, with their current capital, largest city,[A] the date they ratified the U.S. Constitution or were admitted to the Union, population and area data, and number of representative(s) in the U.S. House of Representatives.[B]
|Total area||Land area||Water area||Number|
|Alabama||AL||Montgomery||Birmingham||Dec 14, 1819||4,874,747||52,420||135,767||50,645||131,171||1,775||4,597||7|
|Alaska||AK||Juneau||Anchorage||Jan 3, 1959||739,795||665,384||1,723,337||570,641||1,477,953||94,743||245,384||1|
|Arizona||AZ||Phoenix||Feb 14, 1912||7,016,270||113,990||295,234||113,594||294,207||396||1,026||9|
|Arkansas||AR||Little Rock||Jun 15, 1836||3,004,279||53,179||137,732||52,035||134,771||1,143||2,961||4|
|California||CA||Sacramento||Los Angeles||Sep 9, 1850||39,536,653||163,695||423,967||155,779||403,466||7,916||20,501||53|
|Colorado||CO||Denver||Aug 1, 1876||5,607,154||104,094||269,601||103,642||268,431||452||1,170||7|
|Connecticut||CT||Hartford||Bridgeport||Jan 9, 1788||3,588,184||5,543||14,357||4,842||12,542||701||1,816||5|
|Delaware||DE||Dover||Wilmington||Dec 7, 1787||961,939||2,489||6,446||1,949||5,047||540||1,399||1|
|Florida||FL||Tallahassee||Jacksonville||Mar 3, 1845||20,984,400||65,758||170,312||53,625||138,887||12,133||31,424||27|
|Georgia||GA||Atlanta||Jan 2, 1788||10,429,379||59,425||153,910||57,513||148,959||1,912||4,951||14|
|Hawaii||HI||Honolulu||Aug 21, 1959||1,427,538||10,932||28,313||6,423||16,635||4,509||11,678||2|
|Idaho||ID||Boise||Jul 3, 1890||1,716,943||83,569||216,443||82,643||214,045||926||2,398||2|
|Illinois||IL||Springfield||Chicago||Dec 3, 1818||12,802,023||57,914||149,995||55,519||143,793||2,395||6,202||18|
|Indiana||IN||Indianapolis||Dec 11, 1816||6,666,818||36,420||94,326||35,826||92,789||593||1,537||9|
|Iowa||IA||Des Moines||Dec 28, 1846||3,145,711||56,273||145,746||55,857||144,669||416||1,077||4|
|Kansas||KS||Topeka||Wichita||Jan 29, 1861||2,913,123||82,278||213,100||81,759||211,754||520||1,346||4|
|Kentucky[E]||KY||Frankfort||Louisville||Jun 1, 1792||4,454,189||40,408||104,656||39,486||102,269||921||2,387||6|
|Louisiana||LA||Baton Rouge||New Orleans||Apr 30, 1812||4,684,333||52,378||135,659||43,204||111,898||9,174||23,761||6|
|Maine||ME||Augusta||Portland||Mar 15, 1820||1,335,907||35,380||91,633||30,843||79,883||4,537||11,750||2|
|Maryland||MD||Annapolis||Baltimore||Apr 28, 1788||6,052,177||12,406||32,131||9,707||25,142||2,699||6,990||8|
|Massachusetts[E]||MA||Boston||Feb 6, 1788||6,859,819||10,554||27,336||7,800||20,202||2,754||7,134||9|
|Michigan||MI||Lansing||Detroit||Jan 26, 1837||9,962,311||96,714||250,487||56,539||146,435||40,175||104,052||14|
|Minnesota||MN||St. Paul||Minneapolis||May 11, 1858||5,576,606||86,936||225,163||79,627||206,232||7,309||18,930||8|
|Mississippi||MS||Jackson||Dec 10, 1817||2,984,100||48,432||125,438||46,923||121,531||1,508||3,907||4|
|Missouri||MO||Jefferson City||Kansas City||Aug 10, 1821||6,113,532||69,707||180,540||68,742||178,040||965||2,501||8|
|Montana||MT||Helena||Billings||Nov 8, 1889||1,050,493||147,040||380,831||145,546||376,962||1,494||3,869||1|
|Nebraska||NE||Lincoln||Omaha||Mar 1, 1867||1,920,076||77,348||200,330||76,824||198,974||524||1,356||3|
|Nevada||NV||Carson City||Las Vegas||Oct 31, 1864||2,998,039||110,572||286,380||109,781||284,332||791||2,048||4|
|New Hampshire||NH||Concord||Manchester||Jun 21, 1788||1,342,795||9,349||24,214||8,953||23,187||397||1,027||2|
|New Jersey||NJ||Trenton||Newark||Dec 18, 1787||9,005,644||8,723||22,591||7,354||19,047||1,368||3,544||12|
|New Mexico||NM||Santa Fe||Albuquerque||Jan 6, 1912||2,088,070||121,590||314,917||121,298||314,161||292||757||3|
|New York||NY||Albany||New York||Jul 26, 1788||19,849,399||54,555||141,297||47,126||122,057||7,429||19,240||27|
|North Carolina||NC||Raleigh||Charlotte||Nov 21, 1789||10,273,419||53,819||139,391||48,618||125,920||5,201||13,471||13|
|North Dakota||ND||Bismarck||Fargo||Nov 2, 1889||755,393||70,698||183,108||69,001||178,711||1,698||4,397||1|
|Ohio||OH||Columbus||Mar 1, 1803||11,658,609||44,826||116,098||40,861||105,829||3,965||10,269||16|
|Oklahoma||OK||Oklahoma City||Nov 16, 1907||3,930,864||69,899||181,037||68,595||177,660||1,304||3,377||5|
|Oregon||OR||Salem||Portland||Feb 14, 1859||4,142,776||98,379||254,799||95,988||248,608||2,391||6,191||5|
|Pennsylvania[E]||PA||Harrisburg||Philadelphia||Dec 12, 1787||12,805,537||46,054||119,280||44,743||115,883||1,312||3,397||18|
|Rhode Island[F]||RI||Providence||May 29, 1790||1,059,639||1,545||4,001||1,034||2,678||511||1,324||2|
|South Carolina||SC||Columbia||Charleston||May 23, 1788||5,024,369||32,020||82,933||30,061||77,857||1,960||5,076||7|
|South Dakota||SD||Pierre||Sioux Falls||Nov 2, 1889||869,666||77,116||199,729||75,811||196,350||1,305||3,379||1|
|Tennessee||TN||Nashville||Jun 1, 1796||6,715,984||42,144||109,153||41,235||106,798||909||2,355||9|
|Texas||TX||Austin||Houston||Dec 29, 1845||28,304,596||268,596||695,662||261,232||676,587||7,365||19,075||36|
|Utah||UT||Salt Lake City||Jan 4, 1896||3,101,833||84,897||219,882||82,170||212,818||2,727||7,064||4|
|Vermont||VT||Montpelier||Burlington||Mar 4, 1791||623,657||9,616||24,906||9,217||23,871||400||1,035||1|
|Virginia[E]||VA||Richmond||Virginia Beach||Jun 25, 1788||8,470,020||42,775||110,787||39,490||102,279||3,285||8,508||11|
|Washington||WA||Olympia||Seattle||Nov 11, 1889||7,405,743||71,298||184,661||66,456||172,119||4,842||12,542||10|
|West Virginia||WV||Charleston||Jun 20, 1863||1,815,857||24,230||62,756||24,038||62,259||192||497||3|
|Wisconsin||WI||Madison||Milwaukee||May 29, 1848||5,795,483||65,496||169,635||54,158||140,268||11,339||29,367||8|
|Wyoming||WY||Cheyenne||Jul 10, 1890||579,315||97,813||253,335||97,093||251,470||720||1,864||1|
|Total area||Land area||Water area||Number|
|District of Columbia||DC||Jul 16, 1790||693,972||68||176||61||158||7||18||1[H]|
|Total area||Land area||Water area||Number|
|American Samoa||AS||Pago Pago||1900||57,400||581||1,505||76||198||505||1,307||1[H]|
|Northern Mariana Islands||MP||Saipan||1986||
|Puerto Rico||PR||San Juan||1899||
|U.S. Virgin Islands||VI||Charlotte Amalie||1917||
|Territorial status||Land Area[M]|
|Territorial status||Area||Administered by||Also claimed by|
|Bajo Nuevo Bank (Petrel Island)||1869||
- List of regions of the United States
- Lists of U.S. state topics
- Political divisions of the United States
- The largest city is the city in a state with the largest population in the city proper (as opposed to metropolitan area).
- Each state is entitled to at least one representative. Current federal law sets the number of voting members of the House of Representatives at 435, which are apportioned among states every ten years according to their relative population. Each state is also entitled to two senators.
- The original 13 states became sovereign in July 1776 upon agreeing to the United States Declaration of Independence, and each joined the first Union of states between 1777 and 1781, upon ratifying the Articles of Confederation. These states are presented in the order in which each ratified the 1787 Constitution, thus joining the present federal Union of states. Subsequent states are listed in the order of their admission to the Union, and the date given is the official establishment date set by Act of Congress. For further details, see List of U.S. states by date of admission to the Union
- 2017 estimate
- Uses the term "commonwealth" rather than "state" in its full official name.
- Officially the "State of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations".
- 2017 estimate
- Represented by a non-voting delegate in the House of Representatives.
- 2015 population estimate for: American Samoa, Guam, Northern Mariana Islands, and Virgin Islands; 2017 population estimate for Puerto Rico.
- Although not organized through a federal organic act or other explicit Congressional directive on governance, the people of American Samoa adopted a constitution in 1967, and then in 1977, elected territorial officials for the first time.
- Organized as a commonwealth.
- Represented by a non-voting resident commissioner in the House of Representatives.
- Excluding lagoon
- Although there are no indigenous inhabitants, around 40 United States Fish and Wildlife Service staff and service contractors live on the island at any given time.
- U.S. sovereignty is disputed by Haiti.
- Although there are no indigenous inhabitants, between four and 20 Nature Conservancy, employees, United States Fish and Wildlife Service staff, and researchers live on the island at any given time.
- Although there are no indigenous inhabitants, as of 2009, around 150 U.S. 150 U.S. military personnel and civilian contractors were living on the island, staffing the Wake Island Airfield and communications facilities.
- U.S. sovereignty is disputed by the Republic of Marshall Islands.
- This is the approximate figure for the land area of the bank, and does not include the surrounding territorial waters.
- This figure includes the total land area of the Serranilla Bank and the water area of its lagoon, but not the surrounding territorial waters.
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