List of U.S. state abbreviations

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Several sets of codes and abbreviations are used to represent the political divisions of the United States for postal addresses, data processing, general abbreviations, and other purposes.

Code method to represent information for various purposes (storage, transmission, protection against unauthorized access, ...)

In communications and information processing, code is a system of rules to convert information—such as a letter, word, sound, image, or gesture—into another form or representation, sometimes shortened or secret, for communication through a communication channel or storage in a storage medium. An early example is the invention of language, which enabled a person, through speech, to communicate what he or she saw, heard, felt, or thought to others. But speech limits the range of communication to the distance a voice can carry, and limits the audience to those present when the speech is uttered. The invention of writing, which converted spoken language into visual symbols, extended the range of communication across space and time.

An abbreviation is a shortened form of a word or phrase. It consists of a group of letters taken from the word or phrase. For example, the word abbreviation can itself be represented by the abbreviation abbr., abbrv., or abbrev.

Political divisions of the United States States, territories, Washington, District of Columbia; and their subdivisions

Political divisionsof the United States are the various recognized governing entities that together form the United States — states, territories, the District of Columbia, and Indian reservations.

Contents

Table

This table includes abbreviations for three independent nations related to the United States through Compacts of Free Association, and other comparable postal abbreviations, including those now obsolete.

The Compact of Free Association (COFA) is an international agreement establishing and governing the relationships of free association between the United States and the three Pacific Island nations of the Federated States of Micronesia, the Marshall Islands, and Palau. These nations, together with the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, formerly composed the Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands, a United Nations trusteeship administered by the United States Navy from 1947 to 1951 and by the U.S. Department of the Interior from 1951 to 1986.

Codes and abbreviations for U.S. states, federal district, territories, and other regions
Codes:
    ISO ISO 3166 codes (2-letter, 3-letter, and 3-digit codes from ISO 3166-1; 2+2-letter codes from ISO 3166-2)
    ANSI2-letter and 2-digit codes from the ANSI standard INCITS 38:2009
    USPS2-letter codes used by the United States Postal Service
    USCG2-letter codes used by the United States Coast Guard (red text shows differences between ANSI and USCG)
Abbreviations:
    GPOOlder variable-length official US Government Printing Office abbreviations
    APAbbreviations from the AP Stylebook (red text shows differences between GPO and AP)
Name and status of region ISO ANSI USPS USCG GPO AP Other
abbreviations
 
Flag of the United States.svg  United States of America Federal state US
USA
840
US00U.S.U.S.U.S.A.
Flag of Alabama.svg  Alabama State US-ALAL01ALALAla.Ala.
Flag of Alaska.svg  Alaska StateUS-AKAK02AKAKAlaskaAlaskaAlas.
Flag of Arizona.svg  Arizona StateUS-AZAZ04AZAZAriz.Ariz.Az.
Flag of Arkansas.svg  Arkansas StateUS-ARAR05ARARArk.Ark.
Flag of California.svg  California StateUS-CACA06CACFCalif.Calif.Ca., Cal.
Flag of Colorado.svg  Colorado StateUS-COCO08COCLColo.Colo.Col.
Flag of Connecticut.svg  Connecticut StateUS-CTCT09CTCTConn.Conn.Ct.
Flag of Delaware.svg  Delaware StateUS-DEDE10DEDLDel.Del.De.
Flag of Washington, D.C..svg  District of Columbia Federal district US-DCDC11DCDCD.C.D.C.Wash. D.C.
Flag of Florida.svg  Florida StateUS-FLFL12FLFLFla.Fla.Fl., Flor.
Flag of Georgia (U.S. state).svg  Georgia StateUS-GAGA13GAGAGa.Ga.Geo.
Flag of Hawaii.svg  Hawaii StateUS-HIHI15HIHAHawaiiHawaiiH.I.
Flag of Idaho.svg  Idaho StateUS-IDID16IDIDIdahoIdahoId., Ida.
Flag of Illinois.svg  Illinois StateUS-ILIL17ILILIll.Ill.Il., Ills., Ill's
Flag of Indiana.svg  Indiana StateUS-ININ18ININInd.Ind.In.
Flag of Iowa.svg  Iowa StateUS-IAIA19IAIAIowaIowaIa., Ioa. [lower-alpha 1]
Flag of Kansas.svg  Kansas StateUS-KSKS20KSKAKans.Kan.Ks., Ka.
Flag of Kentucky.svg  Kentucky State (Commonwealth)US-KYKY21KYKYKy.Ky.Ken., Kent. [lower-alpha 2]
Flag of Louisiana.svg  Louisiana StateUS-LALA22LALALa.La.
Flag of Maine.svg  Maine StateUS-MEME23MEMEMaineMaineMe.
Flag of Maryland.svg  Maryland StateUS-MDMD24MDMDMd.Md.
Flag of Massachusetts.svg  Massachusetts State (Commonwealth)US-MAMA25MAMSMass.Mass.
Flag of Michigan.svg  Michigan StateUS-MIMI26MIMCMich.Mich.
Flag of Minnesota.svg  Minnesota StateUS-MNMN27MNMNMinn.Minn.Mn.
Flag of Mississippi.svg  Mississippi StateUS-MSMS28MSMIMiss.Miss.
Flag of Missouri.svg  Missouri StateUS-MOMO29MOMOMo.Mo.
Flag of Montana.svg  Montana StateUS-MTMT30MTMTMont.Mont.
Flag of Nebraska.svg  Nebraska StateUS-NENE31NENBNebr.Neb.
Flag of Nevada.svg  Nevada StateUS-NVNV32NVNVNev.Nev.Nv.
Flag of New Hampshire.svg  New Hampshire StateUS-NHNH33NHNHN.H.N.H.
Flag of New Jersey.svg  New Jersey StateUS-NJNJ34NJNJN.J.N.J.N.Jersey
Flag of New Mexico.svg  New Mexico StateUS-NMNM35NMNMN. Mex.N.M.New M.
Flag of New York.svg  New York StateUS-NYNY36NYNYN.Y.N.Y.N. York
Flag of North Carolina.svg  North Carolina StateUS-NCNC37NCNCN.C.N.C.N. Car.
Flag of North Dakota.svg   North Dakota StateUS-NDND38NDNDN. Dak.N.D.NoDak
Flag of Ohio.svg  Ohio StateUS-OHOH39OHOHOhioOhioO., Oh.
Flag of Oklahoma.svg  Oklahoma StateUS-OKOK40OKOKOkla.Okla.Ok.
Flag of Oregon.svg  Oregon StateUS-OROR41OROROreg.Ore.Or.
Flag of Pennsylvania.svg  Pennsylvania State (Commonwealth)US-PAPA42PAPAPa.Pa.Penn., Penna.
Flag of Rhode Island.svg  Rhode Island StateUS-RIRI44RIRIR.I.R.I.R.I. &  P.P., R. Isl.
Flag of South Carolina.svg  South Carolina StateUS-SCSC45SCSCS.C.S.C.S. Car.
Flag of South Dakota.svg  South Dakota StateUS-SDSD46SDSDS. Dak.S.D.SoDak
Flag of Tennessee.svg  Tennessee StateUS-TNTN47TNTNTenn.Tenn.
Flag of Texas.svg  Texas StateUS-TXTX48TXTXTex.TexasTx.
Flag of Utah.svg  Utah StateUS-UTUT49UTUTUtahUtahUt.
Flag of Vermont.svg  Vermont StateUS-VTVT50VTVTVt.Vt.
Flag of Virginia.svg  Virginia State (Commonwealth)US-VAVA51VAVAVa.Va.Virg.
Flag of Washington.svg  Washington StateUS-WAWA53WAWNWash.Wash.Wa., Wn. [1]
Flag of West Virginia.svg  West Virginia StateUS-WVWV54WVWVW. Va.W.Va.W.V., W. Virg.
Flag of Wisconsin.svg  Wisconsin StateUS-WIWI55WIWSWis.Wis.Wi., Wisc.
Flag of Wyoming.svg  Wyoming StateUS-WYWY56WYWYWyo.Wyo.Wy.
Flag of American Samoa.svg  American Samoa Insular area (Territory)AS
ASM
016
US-AS
AS60ASASA.S.
Flag of Guam.svg  Guam Insular area (Territory)GU
GUM
316
US-GU
GU66GUGUGuam
Flag of the Northern Mariana Islands.svg  Northern Mariana Islands Insular area (Commonwealth)MP
MNP
580
US-MP
MP69MPCMM.P.CNMI [2]
Flag of Puerto Rico.svg  Puerto Rico Insular area (Territory)PR
PRI
630
US-PR
PR72PRPRP.R.
Flag of the United States Virgin Islands.svg  U.S. Virgin Islands Insular area (Territory)VI
VIR
850
US-VI
VI78VIVIV.I.U.S.V.I.
U.S. Minor Outlying Islands Insular areasUM
UMI
581
US-UM
UM74
    Baker Island    islandUM-8181XB [3]
    Howland Island    islandUM-8484XH [3]
    Jarvis Island    islandUM-8686XQ [3]
    Johnston Atoll    atollUM-6767XU [3]
    Kingman Reef    atollUM-8989XM [3]
    Midway Islands    atollUM-7171QM [3]
    Navassa Island    islandUM-7676XV [3]
    Palmyra Atoll [lower-alpha 3]    atoll [lower-alpha 3] UM-9595XL [3]
    Wake Island    atollUM-7979QW [3]
Flag of Federated States of Micronesia.svg  Micronesia Freely associated state FM
FSM
583
FM64FM
Flag of the Marshall Islands.svg  Marshall Islands Freely associated stateMH
MHL
584
MH68MH
Flag of Palau.svg  Palau Freely associated statePW
PLW
585
PW70PW
U.S. Armed ForcesAmericas [lower-alpha 4] US military mail code AA
U.S. Armed Forces – Europe [lower-alpha 5] US military mail codeAE
U.S. Armed Forces – Pacific [lower-alpha 6] US military mail codeAP
Flag of the Northern Mariana Islands.svg  Northern Mariana Islands Obsolete postal code [lower-alpha 7] CM
Flag of Panama Canal Zone.svg Panama Canal Zone Obsolete postal codePZ
PCZ
594
CZ
Flag of Nebraska.svg  Nebraska Obsolete postal code [lower-alpha 8] NB
Flag of the Philippines (navy blue).svg Philippine Islands Obsolete postal codePH
PHL
608
[4]
PI
Flag of the Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands.svg Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands Obsolete postal codePC
PCI
582
TT

History

As early as October 1831, the United States Post Office recognized common abbreviations for states and territories. However, they only accepted these abbreviations because of their popularity, preferring that patrons spell names out in full to avoid confusion. [5]

United States Postal Service independent agency of the U.S. federal government responsible for providing postal service

The United States Postal Service is an independent agency of the executive branch of the United States federal government responsible for providing postal service in the United States, including its insular areas and associated states. It is one of the few government agencies explicitly authorized by the United States Constitution.

The traditional abbreviations for U.S. states and territories, widely used in mailing addresses prior to the introduction of two-letter U.S. postal abbreviations, are still commonly used for other purposes (such as legal citation), and are still recognized (though discouraged) by the Postal Service. [6]

Legal citation is the practice of crediting and referring to authoritative documents and sources. The most common sources of authority cited are court decisions (cases), statutes, regulations, government documents, treaties, and scholarly writing.

Modern two-letter abbreviated codes for the states and territories originated in October 1963, with the issuance of Publication 59: Abbreviations for Use with ZIP Code, three months after the Post Office introduced ZIP codes in July 1963. The purpose, rather than to standardize state abbreviations per se, was to make room in a line of no more than 23 characters for the city, the state, and the ZIP code. [5]

Since 1963, only one state abbreviation has changed. Originally Nebraska was "NB"; but, in November 1969, the Post Office changed it to "NE" to avoid confusion with New Brunswick in Canada. [5]

Nebraska State of the United States of America

Nebraska is a state that lies in both the Great Plains and the Midwestern United States. It is bordered by South Dakota to the north; Iowa to the east and Missouri to the southeast, both across the Missouri River; Kansas to the south; Colorado to the southwest; and Wyoming to the west. It is the only triply landlocked U.S. state.

New Brunswick province in Canada

New Brunswick is one of four Atlantic provinces on the east coast of Canada. According to the Constitution of Canada, New Brunswick is the only bilingual province. About two thirds of the population declare themselves anglophones and a third francophones. One third of the population describes themselves as bilingual. Atypically for Canada, only about half of the population lives in urban areas, mostly in Greater Moncton, Greater Saint John and the capital Fredericton.

The two-letter postal abbreviation system is complicated by the fact that several state names begin with the same letter (e.g., eight state names begin with M and eight begin with N, four "New" and two "North"). To avoid duplications, some abbreviations are not intuitive.

Prior to 1987, when the U.S. Secretary of Commerce approved the two-letter codes for use in government documents, [7] the United States Government Printing Office (GPO) suggested its own set of abbreviations, with some states left unabbreviated. Today, the GPO supports United States Postal Service standard. [8]

Current use of traditional abbreviations

The Associated Press Stylebook, the usage guide for most United States newspapers, counsels the use of abbreviations for most state names, when appended to a city name (for example, "Santa Ana, Calif."). AP suggests spelling out the names of Alaska, Hawaii, and all states with five or fewer letters; and, unlike the old GPO recommendations, AP suggests spelling out the names of all non-state territories, with the exception of the District of Columbia (D.C.). Legal citation manuals, such as The Bluebook and The ALWD Citation Manual , typically use these "traditional abbreviations" or variants thereof.

Codes for states and territories

ISO standard 3166

ANSI standard INCITS 38:2009

The American National Standards Institute (ANSI) established alphabetic and numeric codes for each state and outlying areas in ANSI standard INCITS 38:2009. ANSI standard INCITS 38:2009 replaced the Federal Information Processing Standard (FIPS) standards FIPS 5-2, FIPS 6-4, and FIPS 10-4. The ANSI alphabetic state code is the same as the USPS state code except for U.S. Minor Outlying Islands, which have an ANSI code "UM" but no USPS code—and U.S. Military Mail locations, which have USPS codes ("AA", "AE", "AP") but no ANSI code.

Postal codes

WashingtonOregonCaliforniaHawaiiAlaskaIdahoVermontNew HampshireMassachusettsRhode IslandConnecticutNew JerseyDelawareMarylandD.C.MontanaNorth DakotaSouth DakotaNevadaUtahArizonaWyomingColoradoNew MexicoNebraskaKansasOklahomaTexasMinnesotaIowaMissouriArkansasLouisianaMichiganWisconsinIllinoisIndianaOhioWest VirginiaKentuckyTennesseeMississippiAlabamaGeorgiaFloridaSouth CarolinaNorth CarolinaVirginiaMarylandMarylandDistrict of ColumbiaDelawareNew YorkPennsylvaniaNew JerseyConnecticutRhode IslandMassachusettsNew HampshireVermontMaineList of U.S. state abbreviations
List of U.S. state abbreviations

The United States Postal Service has established a set of uppercase abbreviations to help process mail with optical character recognition and other automated equipment. [9] There are also official USPS abbreviations for other parts of the address, such as street designators (street, avenue, road, etc.).

These postal abbreviations are distinguished from traditional abbreviations such as Calif., Fla., or Tex. The Associated Press Stylebook states that in contexts other than mailing addresses, the traditional state abbreviations should be used. [10] However, the Chicago Manual of Style now recommends use of the uppercase two-letter abbreviations, with the traditional forms as an option. [11]

The postal abbreviation is the same as the ISO 3166-2 subdivision code for each of the fifty states.

These codes do not overlap with the 13 Canadian subnational postal abbreviations. The code for Nebraska changed from NB to NE in November 1969 to avoid a conflict with New Brunswick. [5] Canada likewise chose MB for Manitoba to prevent conflict with either Massachusetts (MA), Minnesota (MN), or Montana (MT).

Coast Guard vessel prefixes

The U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) uses a set of two-letter prefixes for vessel numbers; [12] 39 states and the District of Columbia have the same USPS and USCG abbreviations. USCG prefixes have also been established for five outlying territories; all are the same as the USPS abbreviations except the Mariana Islands. The twelve cases where USPS and USCG abbreviations differ are listed below and marked in red in the table above.

Mis-matches between USPS and USCG codes
CaliforniaColoradoDelawareHawaiiKansasMichiganMississippiMassachusettsNebraskaWashingtonWisconsinMariana Islands
USPSCACODEHIKSMIMSMANEWAWIMP
USCGCFCLDLHAKAMCMIMSNBWNWSCM

See also

Notes

  1. "Ioa." or (more typically) "IOA" found in Iowa post office cancellations from the 1870s.
  2. Not to be confused with Kent, England
  3. 1 2 The Palmyra Atoll is an unorganized incorporated territory of the United States that was previously a part of the Territory of Hawaii.
  4. The U.S. Armed Forces – Americas include the Caribbean Sea and exclude the United States, Canada, and Greenland.
  5. The U.S. Armed Forces – Europe include the Atlantic Ocean, the Mediterranean Sea, Canada, Greenland, Africa, and Southwest Asia.
  6. The U.S. Armed Forces – Pacific include the Indian Ocean, Oceania, and Asia except Southwest Asia.
  7. Former USPS code "CM" for the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands is now obsolete; it was changed to MP in 1988 to match ISO 3166-1.
  8. Former USPS code "NB" for Nebraska is now obsolete; it was changed to NE in November 1969 to avoid confusion with New Brunswick, Canada.

Related Research Articles

Country code alphabetic or numeric geographical codes that represent countries and dependent areas

Country codes are short alphabetic or numeric geographical codes (geocodes) developed to represent countries and dependent areas, for use in data processing and communications. Several different systems have been developed to do this. The term country code frequently refers to international dialing codes, the E.164 country calling codes.

Federal Information Processing Standards (FIPS) are publicly announced standards developed by the United States federal government for use in computer systems by non-military government agencies and government contractors.

ISO 3166 is a standard published by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) that defines codes for the names of countries, dependent territories, special areas of geographical interest, and their principal subdivisions. The official name of the standard is Codes for the representation of names of countries and their subdivisions.

Postal code series of letters and digits for sorting mail

A postal code is a series of letters or digits or both, sometimes including spaces or punctuation, included in a postal address for the purpose of sorting mail.

A ZIP Code is a postal code used by the United States Postal Service (USPS) in a system it introduced in 1963. The term ZIP is an acronym for Zone Improvement Plan; it was chosen to suggest that the mail travels more efficiently and quickly when senders use the code in the postal address. The basic format consists of five digits. An extended ZIP+4 code was introduced in 1983 which includes the five digits of the ZIP Code, followed by a hyphen and four additional digits that reference a more specific location.

FIPS state codes were numeric and two-letter alphabetic codes defined in U.S. Federal Information Processing Standard Publication 5-2 to identify U.S. states and certain other associated areas. The standard superseded FIPS PUB 5-1 on May 28, 1987, and was superseded on September 2, 2008, by ANSI standard INCITS 38:2009.

ISO 3166-2:CA is the entry for Canada in ISO 3166-2, part of the ISO 3166 standard published by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO), which defines codes for the names of the principal subdivisions of all countries coded in ISO 3166-1.

ISO 3166-2:US is the entry for the United States in ISO 3166-2, part of the ISO 3166 standard published by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO), which defines codes for the names of the principal subdivisions of all countries coded in I 3166-1.

ISO 3166-1 is part of the ISO 3166 standard published by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO), and defines codes for the names of countries, dependent territories, and special areas of geographical interest. The official name of the standard is Codes for the representation of names of countries and their subdivisions – Part 1: Country codes. It defines three sets of country codes:

ISO 3166-1 alpha-2 two-letter country codes defined in ISO 3166-1

ISO 3166-1 alpha-2 codes are two-letter country codes defined in ISO 3166-1, part of the ISO 3166 standard published by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO), to represent countries, dependent territories, and special areas of geographical interest. They are the most widely used of the country codes published by ISO, and are used most prominently for the Internet's country code top-level domains. They are also used as country identifiers extending the postal code when appropriate within the international postal system for paper mail, and has replaced the previous one consisting one-letter codes. They were first included as part of the ISO 3166 standard in its first edition in 1974.

These are data codes for Switzerland.

Franking refers to any devices, markings, or combinations thereof ("franks") applied to mails of any class which qualifies them to be postally serviced. Types of franks include uncanceled and precanceled postage stamps, impressions applied via postage meter, official use "Penalty" franks, Business Reply Mail (BRM), and other permit Imprints (Indicia), manuscript and facsimile "franking privilege" signatures, "soldier's mail" markings, and any other forms authorized by the 191 postal administrations that are members of the Universal Postal Union.

An address is a collection of information, presented in a mostly fixed format, used to give the location of a building, apartment, or other structure or a plot of land, generally using political boundaries and street names as references, along with other identifiers such as house or apartment numbers and organization name. Some addresses also contain special codes, such as a postal code, to make identification easier and aid in the routing of mail.

Canadian provincial and territorial postal abbreviations are used by Canada Post in a code system consisting of two capital letters, to represent the 13 provinces and territories on addressed mail. These abbreviations allow automated sorting.

Geolocation identification of the real-world geographic location of an object

Geolocation is the identification or estimation of the real-world geographic location of an object, such as a radar source, mobile phone, or Internet-connected computer terminal. In its simplest form geolocation, involves the generation of a set of geographic coordinates and is closely related to the use of positioning systems, but its usefulness is enhanced by the use of these coordinates to determine a meaningful location, such as a street address.

ISO 3166-2:UM is the entry for the United States Minor Outlying Islands in ISO 3166-2, part of the ISO 3166 standard published by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO), which defines codes for the names of the principal subdivisions of all countries coded in ISO 3166-1.

References

  1. "search on WN". Digitum.washingtonhistory.org. Retrieved 2018-02-26.
  2. "Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands". www.doi.gov. Retrieved 2018-01-07.
  3. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 "Geopolitical Entities, Names, and Codes Standard". NSG Standards Registry. Retrieved 2017-02-06.
  4. "Philippine diplomats will now use PH or PHL instead of RP". GMA News. 28 October 2010. Retrieved 17 March 2013.
  5. 1 2 3 4 USPS Postal History: State Abbreviations Accessed November 7, 2011.
  6. "USPS Postal News, "It's Okay to Say 'I Don't Know,' So Long As You Find Out!" January 9, 2009". About.usps.com. 2009-01-09. Retrieved 2018-02-26.
  7. Hawes, Kristi G. (1987-05-28). "Information Technology Laboratory". NIST. Retrieved 2009-04-21.
  8. U.S. Government Printing Office Style Manual, 30th Edition Accessed April 21, 2009.
  9. United States Postal Service Publication 28 - Postal Addressing Standards. Accessed February 4, 2007.
  10. State Abbreviations
  11. Major Rule Changes in The Chicago Manual of Style, Fifteenth Edition Accessed May 23, 2009
  12. 33 C.F.R. 173 , App. A