A U.S. state is any one of the fifty subnational entities of the United States, although four states use the official title "commonwealth". The separate state governments and the federal government share sovereignty, in that an American is a citizen both of the federal entity and of his or her state of residence. However, state citizenship is very flexible, and no government approval is required to move between states (with the exception of convicts on parole).

The United States Constitution allocates power between the two levels of government in general terms. By ratifying the Constitution, each state transfers certain sovereign powers to the federal government and agrees to share other powers. Under the Tenth Amendment, all powers not explicitly transferred or shared are retained by the states and the people. Historically, the tasks of public education, public health, transportation and other infrastructure have been considered primarily state responsibilities, although all have significant federal funding and regulation as well.

Over time, the Constitution has been amended, and the interpretation and application of its provisions have changed. The general tendency has been toward centralization, with the federal government playing a much larger role than it once did. There is a continuing debate over "states' rights," which concerns the extent and nature of the powers that the states have given to the federal government.

List of statesEdit

The following sortable table lists each of the 50 states of the United States of America with the following information:

The 50 United States of America
Official State Name Common IPA USPS Date Population Capital Most Populous City Flag
State of Alabama Alabama /ˌɒ.ləˈbɒ.mə/ AL 181912141819-12-14 04,599,030 Montgomery Birmingham 45px
State of Alaska Alaska /əˈlɒs.kə/ AK 195901031959-01-03 00,670,053 Juneau Anchorage 45px
State of Arizona Arizona /ˌɒ.ɹɪˈzoʊ.nə/ AZ 191202141912-02-14 06,166,318 Phoenix Phoenix 45px
State of Arkansas Arkansas /ˈɑɹ.kənˌsɔː/ AR 183606151836-06-15 02,810,872 Little Rock Little Rock 45px
State of California California /ˌkɒ.ləˈfɔːɹ.njə/ CA 185009091850-09-09 36,457,549 Sacramento Los Angeles 45px
State of Colorado Colorado /ˌkɑ.ləˈɹɒ.doʊ/ CO 187608011876-08-01 04,753,377 Denver Denver 45px
State of Connecticut Connecticut /kəˈnɛ.tə.kət/ CT 178801091788-01-09 03,504,809 Hartford Bridgeport[4] 45px
State of Delaware Delaware /ˈdɛ.ləˌwɛəɹ/ DE 178712071787-12-07 00,853,476 Dover Wilmington 45px
State of Florida Florida /ˈflɔːɹ.ɪ.də/ FL 184503031845-03-03 18,089,888 Tallahassee Jacksonville[5] 45px
State of Georgia Georgia /ˈdʒɔːɹ.dʒə/ GA 178801021788-01-02 09,363,941 Atlanta Atlanta 45px
State of Hawaiʻi
Mokuʻāina o Hawaiʻi
Hawaii /həˈwəi.ʔi/ HI 195908211959-08-21 01,285,498 Honolulu Honolulu 45px
State of Idaho Idaho /ˈaɪ.dəˌhoʊ/ ID 189007031890-07-03 01,466,465 Boise Boise 45px
State of Illinois Illinois /ˌɪ.ləˈnçi/ IL 181812031818-12-03 12,831,970 Springfield Chicago 45px
State of Indiana Indiana /ˌɪn.diˈɒ.nə/ IN 181612111816-12-11 06,313,520 Indianapolis Indianapolis 45px
State of Iowa Iowa /ˈaɪ.ə.wə/ IA 184612281846-12-28 02,982,085 Des Moines Des Moines 45px
State of Kansas Kansas /ˈkɒn.zəs/ KS 186101291861-01-29 02,764,075 Topeka Wichita 45px
Commonwealth of Kentucky Kentucky /kənˈtə.ki/ KY 179206011792-06-01 04,206,074 Frankfort Louisville 45px
State of Louisiana
État de Louisiane
Louisiana /luːˌiː.ziˈæ.nə/ LA 181204301812-04-30 04,287,768 Baton Rouge New Orleans[6] 45px
State of Maine Maine /mein/ ME 182003151820-03-15 01,321,574 Augusta Portland 45px
State of Maryland Maryland /ˈmɛɹ.ə.lənd/ MD 178804281788-04-28 05,615,727 Annapolis Baltimore[7] 45px
Commonwealth of Massachusetts Massachusetts /ˌmɒ.səˈtʃu.sɪts/ MA 178802061788-02-06 06,437,193 Boston Boston 45px
State of Michigan Michigan /ˈmɪ.ʃə.gən/ MI 183701261837-01-26 10,095,643 Lansing Detroit 45px
State of Minnesota Minnesota /ˌmɪ.nɪˈsoʊ.tə/ MN 185805111858-05-11 05,167,101 Saint Paul Minneapolis 45px
State of Mississippi Mississippi /ˌmɪ.sɪˈsɪ.pi/ MS 181712101817-12-10 02,910,540 Jackson Jackson 45px
State of Missouri Missouri /mɪˈzʊ.ɹi/ MO 182108101821-08-10 05,842,713 Jefferson City Kansas City[8] 45px
State of Montana Montana /mɑnˈtɒ.nə/ MT 188911081889-11-08 00,944,632 Helena Billings 45px
State of Nebraska Nebraska /nəˈbɹæ.skə/ NE 186703011867-03-01 01,768,331 Lincoln Omaha 45px
State of Nevada Nevada /nəˈvɒ.də/ NV 186410311864-10-31 02,495,529 Carson City Las Vegas 45px
State of New Hampshire New Hampshire /nuː ˈhɒmp.ʃiɹ/ NH 178806211788-06-21 01,314,895 Concord Manchester[9] 45px
State of New Jersey New Jersey /nuː ˈdʒɝː.zi/ NJ 178712181787-12-18 08,724,560 Trenton Newark[10] 45px
State of New Mexico
Estado de Nuevo México
New Mexico /nuː ˈmɛk.sə.kɔː/ NM 191201061912-01-06 01,954,599 Santa Fe Albuquerque 45px
State of New York New York /nuː joʊɹk/ NY 178807261788-07-26 19,306,183 Albany New York 45px
State of North Carolina North Carolina /nɔːɹɵ ˌkɒ.ɹəˈlaɪ.nə/ NC 178911211789-11-21 08,856,505 Raleigh Charlotte 45px
State of North Dakota North Dakota /nɔːɹɵ dəˈkoʊ.tə/ ND 188911021889-11-02 00,635,867 Bismarck Fargo 45px
State of Ohio Ohio /oʊˈhaɪ.oʊ/ OH 180303011803-03-01 11,478,006 Columbus Columbus[11] 45px
State of Oklahoma Oklahoma /ˌoʊ.kləˈhoʊ.mə/ OK 190711161907-11-16 03,579,212 Oklahoma City Oklahoma City 45px
State of Oregon Oregon /ˈɔː.ɹə.gən/ OR 185902141859-02-14 03,700,758 Salem Portland 45px
Commonwealth of Pennsylvania Pennsylvania /ˌpɛn.səlˈvei.njə/ PA 178712121787-12-12 12,440,621 Harrisburg Philadelphia 45px
State of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations Rhode Island /ɹoʊd ˈaɪ.lənd/ RI 179005291790-05-29 01,067,610 Providence Providence 45px
State of South Carolina South Carolina /sɑʊɵ ˌkɒ.ɹəˈlaɪ.nə/ SC 178805231788-05-23 04,321,249 Columbia Columbia[12] 45px
State of South Dakota South Dakota /sɑʊɵ dəˈkoʊ.tə/ SD 188911021889-11-02 00,781,919 Pierre Sioux Falls 45px
State of Tennessee Tennessee /ˌtɛ.nɪˈsi/ TN 179606011796-06-01 06,038,803 Nashville Memphis[13] 45px
State of Texas Texas /ˈtɛk.səs/ TX 184512291845-12-29 23,507,783 Austin Houston[14] 45px
State of Utah Utah /ˈjuː.tɔ/ UT 189601041896-01-04 02,550,063 Salt Lake City Salt Lake City 45px
State of Vermont Vermont /vəɹˈmɑnt/ VT 179103041791-03-04 00,623,908 Montpelier Burlington 45px
Commonwealth of Virginia Virginia /vɝːˈdʒɪ.njə/ VA 178806251788-06-25 07,642,884 Richmond Virginia Beach[15] 45px
State of Washington Washington /ˈwɑ.ʃɪŋ.tən/ WA 188911111889-11-11 06,395,798 Olympia Seattle 45px
State of West Virginia West Virginia /wɛst vɝːˈdʒɪ.njə/ WV 186306201863-06-20 01,818,470 Charleston Charleston 45px
State of Wisconsin Wisconsin /wɪsˈkɑn.sən/ WI 184805291848-05-29 05,556,506 Madison Milwaukee 45px
State of Wyoming Wyoming /waɪˈoʊ.mɪŋ/ WY 189007101890-07-10 00,515,004 Cheyenne Cheyenne 45px

Legal relationship Edit

Union as a single nation Edit

Upon the adoption of the Articles of Confederation and Perpetual Union, the states became a confederation, a single sovereign political entity as defined by international law — empowered to levy war and to conduct international relations — albeit with a very loosely structured and inefficient central government. After the failure of the union under the Articles of Confederation, the thirteen states joined the modern union via the process of ratifying the United States Constitution, which took effect in 1789.

Relationship among the states Edit

Under Article IV of the Constitution, which outlines the relationship between the states, the United States Congress has the power to admit new states to the union. The states are required to give "full faith and credit" to the acts of each other's legislatures and courts, which is generally held to include the recognition of legal contracts, marriages, criminal judgments, and—at the time—slave status. States are prohibited from discriminating against citizens of other states with respect to their basic rights, under the Privileges and Immunities Clause. The states are guaranteed military and civil defense by the federal government, which is also required to ensure that the government of each state remains a republic.

Commerce clauseEdit

The Supreme Court of the United States has interpreted the Constitution of the United States such that the commerce clause allows for a wide scope of federal power. For example, Congress can regulate railway traffic across state lines, but it may also regulate rail traffic solely within a state, on the theory that wholly intrastate traffic can still have an impact on interstate commerce.

Another source of Congressional power is its "spending power" -- the ability of Congress to allocate funds, for example to the Eisenhower Interstate Highway System. The system is mandated and partially funded by the federal government but also serves the interests of the states. By threatening to withhold federal highway funds, Congress has been able to persuade state legislatures to pass a variety of laws. Although some object on the ground that this infringes on states' rights, the Supreme Court has upheld the practice as a permissible use of the Constitution's Spending Clause.

State governmentsEdit

States are free to organize their state governments any way they like, as long as they conform to the sole requirement of the U.S. Constitution that they have "a Republican Form of Government". In practice, each state has adopted a three branch system of government generally along the sames lines as that of the federal government—though this is not a requirement. There is nothing that could stop a state from adopting a parliamentary system—with a fusion of powers, as opposed to a separation of powers—if it so chooses.

Despite the fact that each state has chosen to use the federal model to follow, there are some significant differences in some states. One of the most notable is that of the unicameral Nebraska Legislature, which unlike the legislatures of the other 49 states, has only one house. Some states, such as Florida, have in effect a plural executive, with members of the executive branch elected directly by the people and serving as equal members of the state cabinet alongside the governor. And only a few states choose to have their judicial branch leaders—their judges on the state's courts—serve for life terms.

The most substantial difference between states is that many rural states have part-time legislatures, while the states with the highest populations tend to have full-time legislatures. Texas, the second largest state in population, is a notable exception to this: excepting special sessions, the Texas Legislature is limited by law to 140 calendar days out of every two years. In Baker v. Carr, the U.S. Supreme Court held that all states are required to have legislative districts which are proportional in terms of population.

Also, states can organize their judicial systems differently from the federal judiciary, as long as due process is protected. See state court and state supreme court for more information. Most have a trial level court, generally called a District Court or Superior Court, a first-level appellate court, generally called a Court of Appeal (or Appeals), and a Supreme Court. However, Texas has a separate highest court for criminal appeals. New York is notorious for its unusual terminology, in that the trial court is called the Supreme Court. Appeals are then taken to the Supreme Court, Appellate Division, and from there to the Court of Appeals. Most states base their legal system on British Common law, with the notable exception of Louisiana which is based partially on the French Civil law.

State lists Edit

See alsoEdit

Template:US Census Labelled Map

External linksEdit


  1. "Official USPS Abbreviations" (HTML). United States Postal Service. 1998. Retrieved on 2007-02-26. 
  2. "Table 1: Annual Estimates of the Population for the United States and States, and for Puerto Rico: April 1, 2000 to July 1, 2006" (CSV). 2006 Population Estimates. United States Census Bureau, Population Division. 2006-12-22. Retrieved on 2007-02-26. 
  3. "Annual Estimates of the Population for All Incorporated Places: April 1, 2000 to July 1, 2005" (CSV). 2005 Population Estimates. United States Census Bureau, Population Division. 2006-06-20. Retrieved on 2007-02-26. 
  4. The Hartford-West Hartford-Willimantic Combined Statistical Area is the most populous metropolitan area in Connecticut.
  5. The Miami-Fort Lauderdale-Miami Beach Metropolitan Statistical Area is the most populous metropolitan area in Florida.
  6. The United States Census Bureau estimates that, as of 2005-07-01, the population of the City of New Orleans was 454,863 and the population of the City of Baton Rouge was 222,064. After Hurricane Katrina struck Louisiana, New Orleans lost a significant portion of its population while the population of Baton Rouge increased substantially.
  7. Baltimore City and the 12 Maryland counties of the Washington-Baltimore-Northern Virginia Combined Statistical Area form the most populous metropolitan region in Maryland.
  8. The City of Saint Louis and the 8 Missouri counties of the St. Louis-St. Charles-Farmington Combined Statistical Area form the most populous metropolitan region in Missouri.
  9. The 5 southeastern New Hampshire counties of the Boston-Worcester-Manchester Combined Statistical Area form the most populous metropolitan region in New Hampshire.
  10. The 13 northern New Jersey counties of the New York-Newark-Bridgeport Combined Statistical Area form the most populous metropolitan region in New Jersey.
  11. The Cleveland-Akron-Elyria Combined Statistical Area is the most populous metropolitan area in Ohio.
  12. The Greenville-Spartanburg-Anderson Combined Statistical Area is the most populous metropolitan area in South Carolina.
  13. The Nashville-Davidson-Murfreesboro-Columbia Combined Statistical Area is the most populous metropolitan area in Tennessee.
  14. The Dallas-Fort Worth Combined Statistical Area is the most populous metropolitan area in Texas.
  15. The 10 Virginia counties and 6 Virginia cities of the Washington-Baltimore-Northern Virginia Combined Statistical Area form the most populous metropolitan region in Virginia.

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