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List of U.S. state abbreviations

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This is a list of U.S. state abbreviations. Abbreviations and codes for the states and possessions of the United States are used for postal addresses, data processing, general abbreviations, and other purposes. Also included in this list are abbreviations for three independent nations related to the United States through the Compact of Free Association.

History Edit

As early as October 1874, the United States Post Office recognized common abbreviations for states and territories. However, abbreviations were accepted only because of their popularity; the Post Office preferred all names spelled out in full to avoid confusion.[1]

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.[2]

The modern two-letter abbreviated codes for the states and territories originated during the Post Office's introduction of ZIP codes in 1963. The purpose was to make room for the ZIP codes in the address, rather than to standardize state abbreviations per se.[1]

Since 1963, only one state abbreviation has been changed. Originally Nebraska was shortened to "NB," but this was changed to "NE" in November 1969 to avoid confusion with New Brunswick in Canada.[1]

The postal abbreviations, consisting of only two letters, are complicated by the fact that there are eight states whose names begin with M, and another eight whose names begin with N. Some of the resulting abbreviations, instituted to avoid duplication, are not intuitive and can be confusing.[3]

Prior to 1987, when the U.S. Secretary of Commerce approved the two-letter codes for use in government documents,[4] the United States Government Printing Office (GPO) suggested their own set of abbreviations, with some states being left unabbreviated. Today, the GPO supports United States Postal Service standard.[5]

List Edit

State or Territory
USPS
Old GPO
AP[6]
Other (status)
FIPS
Alabama AL Ala. Ala. 01
Alaska AK Alaska Alaska Alas. 02
Arizona AZ Ariz. Ariz. Az. 04
Arkansas AR Ark. Ark. 05
California CA Calif. Calif. Ca. or Cal. or Cali., CFUSCG 06
Colorado CO Colo. Colo. Col., CLUSCG 08
Connecticut CT Conn. Conn. Ct. 09
Delaware DE Del. Del. De., DLUSCG 10
District of Columbia DC D.C. D.C. Wash., D.C. (Federal district) 11
Florida FL Fla. Fla. Fl. or Flor. 12
Georgia GA Ga. Ga. 13
Hawaii HI Hawaii Hawaii H.I., HAUSCG 15
Idaho ID Idaho Idaho Id. or Ida. 16
Illinois IL Ill. Ill. Il. or Ills. or Ill's 17
Indiana IN Ind. Ind. In. 18
Iowa IA Iowa Iowa Ia. or Ioa.[7] 19
Kansas KS Kans. Kan. Ks. or Ka., KAUSCG 20
Kentucky KY Ky. Ky. Ken. or Kent. 21
Louisiana LA La. La. 22
Maine ME Maine Maine Me. 23
Maryland MD Md. Md. 24
Massachusetts MA Mass. Mass. MSUSCG 25
Michigan MI Mich. Mich. MCUSCG 26
Minnesota MN Minn. Minn. Mn. 27
Mississippi MS Miss. Miss. MIUSCG 28
Missouri MO Mo. Mo. 29
Montana MT Mont. Mont. 30
Nebraska NE Nebr. Neb. NBUSCG 31
Nevada NV Nev. Nev. Nv. 32
New Hampshire NH N.H. N.H. 33
New Jersey NJ N.J. N.J. 34
New Mexico NM N. Mex. N.M. New M. 35
New York NY N.Y. N.Y. N. York 36
North Carolina NC N.C. N.C. N. Car. 37
North Dakota ND N. Dak. N.D. 38
Ohio OH Ohio Ohio O. or Oh. 39
Oklahoma OK Okla. Okla. Ok. 40
Oregon OR Oreg. Ore. Or. 41
Pennsylvania PA Pa. Pa. Penn. or Penna. 42
Rhode Island RI R.I. R.I. R.I. and P.P. 44
South Carolina SC S.C. S.C. S. Car. 45
South Dakota SD S. Dak. S.D. Sodak 46
Tennessee TN Tenn. Tenn. Tn. 47
Texas TX Tex. Texas Tx. 48
Utah UT Utah Utah Ut. 49
Vermont VT Vt. Vt. 50
Virginia VA Va. Va. Virg. 51
Washington WA Wash. Wash. Wa. or Wn.,[8] WNUSCG 53
West Virginia WV W. Va. W.Va. W.V. or W. Virg. 54
Wisconsin WI Wis. Wis. Wi. or Wisc., WSUSCG 55
Wyoming WY Wyo. Wyo. Wy. 56
American Samoa AS A.S. (Insular area) ASUSCG 60
Guam GU Guam (Insular area) GUUSCG 66
Northern Mariana Islands MP M.P. (Insular area) CMUSCG 69
Puerto Rico PR P.R. (Insular area) PRUSCG 72
Virgin Islands VI V.I. (Insular area) U.S.V.I., VIUSCG 78
U.S. Minor Outlying Islands (Insular area) 'UM' is the FIPS alphabetic code for the entire group. Each individual has a separate numeric FIPS state code listed here. The U.S. Postal Service does not employ the term U.S. Minor Outlying Islands, as mail for any of these islands is routed indirectly (use PR, HI, AA or AP)
Federated States of Micronesia FM (Freely associated state) 64
Marshall Islands MH (Freely associated state) 68
Palau PW (Freely associated state) 70
Armed Forces
- Americas (except Canada)
AA (US Military mail)
Armed Forces
- Europe
- Canada
- Middle East
- Africa
AE (US Military mail)
Armed Forces
- Pacific
AP (US Military mail)
Canal Zone CZ C.Z. (Obsolete code)
Philippine Islands PI (Obsolete code)
Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands TT (Obsolete code)
Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands CM (Obsolete code) Changed to MP in 1988 to match ISO 3166-1 and FIPS Alpha Code.

Current use of traditional abbreviations Edit

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 "Alaska," "Hawaii," and all state names 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" as well.

Postal abbreviations Edit

WashingtonOregonCaliforniaHawaiiAlaskaIdahoVermontNew HampshireMassachusettsRhode IslandConnecticutNew JerseyDelawareMarylandD.C.MontanaNorth DakotaSouth DakotaNevadaUtahArizonaWyomingColoradoNew MexicoNebraskaKansasOklahomaTexasMinnesotaIowaMissouriArkansasLouisianaMichiganWisconsinIllinoisIndianaOhioWest VirginiaKentuckyTennesseeMississippiAlabamaGeorgiaFloridaSouth CarolinaNorth CarolinaVirginiaMarylandMarylandDistrict of ColumbiaDelawareNew YorkPennsylvaniaNew JerseyConnecticutRhode IslandMassachusettsNew HampshireVermontMaineUS state abbrev map
About this image

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 ISO 3166-2 subdivision code for all fifty states.

These codes do not overlap with the thirteen Canadian subnational postal abbreviations. The code for Nebraska changed from NB to NE in November 1969 to avoid a conflict with New Brunswick.[1]

Other abbreviations and codes Edit

The Federal Information Processing Standard establishes numeric and alphabetic state codes for each state and for many outlying areas. The FIPS numeric code is marked 'FIPS' on the table above. The FIPS alphabetic state code is the same as the USPS code except for U.S. Minor Outlying Islands which have a FIPS code (UM) but no USPS code, and the U.S. Military Mail locations which have USPS codes (AA, AE, AP) but no FIPS code.

The U.S. Coast Guard uses a set of 2-letter prefixes for vessel numbers,[12] marked (USCG) on the large table above. The other 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 of which are listed above, though they differ from the USPS code only in the case of the Mariana Islands. The small table below shows the 11 states that are different plus the Mariana Islands.

Mis-matches between USPS and USCG codes
USPS CA CO DE HI KS MI MS MA NE WA WI MP
USCG CF CL DL HA KA MC MI MS NB WN WS CM

See also Edit

References Edit

  1. ^ a b c d USPS Postal History: State Abbreviations Accessed November 7, 2011.
  2. ^ USPS Postal News, "It's Okay to Say 'I Don’t Know,' So Long As You Find Out!" January 9, 2009 [1]
  3. ^ Printable State Postal Abbreviations . Accessed 2011.01.10.
  4. ^ Federal Information Processing Standards Publication 5-2, May 28, 1987 [2] Accessed April 21, 2009.
  5. ^ U.S. Government Printing Office Style Manual, 30th Edition [3] Accessed April 21, 2009.
  6. ^ AP Stylebook
  7. ^ "Ioa." or (more typically) "IOA" found in Iowa post office cancellations from the 1870s.
  8. ^ search on WN
  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. Pt. 173, App. A

External links Edit


This page uses content from the English language Wikipedia. The original content was at List of U.S. state abbreviations. The list of authors can be seen in the page history. As with this Familypedia wiki, the content of Wikipedia is available under the Creative Commons License.

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