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Back to Geography Basics: How Many States are There in the USA?

How Many States are There in the USA?
All the confusion about the total number of states in the USA arises mainly from the ignorance of the 2 states off the North American mainland. Though the actual number is 50, some people are of the opinion that there are 48 states; others believe that there are 49, and some even go to the extent of asserting that there are 51 states in total.
ScienceStruck Staff
Last Updated: Mar 8, 2018
The United States of America, often referred to as the United States, is a federal constitutional republic, spread over an area of 3,537,438.44 sq mi, in North America. It is flanked by the Pacific ocean and the Atlantic ocean on either sides, and bordered by Canada and Mexico in the north and south, respectively.
The United States is the 3rd largest country in the world in terms of both, the land area and population. Washington D.C. is the capital district of the nation, while New York City is the largest city. For administrative purposes, the United States is divided into 50 states; each of which shares sovereignty with the federal government.
Political Division of the United States of America
Of the 50 federal states, which form the United States, 48 are contiguous states. The 2 exceptions are Alaska and Hawaii, which lie to the northwest of the continent and in the mid-Pacific, respectively. Alaska is the largest state in terms of area, while California has the distinction of being the most populous state in the US.
The first thirteen states of the United States were constituted following the rebellion of the thirteen colonies in 1776. Since then, the US Congress has exercised its power to add several new states to the Union; the last of which was the state of Hawaii. (The US Supreme court considers secession unconstitutional; even though there is no explicit mention of the same in the Constitution.) The possibility of adding new states to the Union cannot be ruled out. Of the few names that are being discussed, Puerto Rico is most likely to become the 51st state of America. As of now though, the number of states in USA is 50 -- and not 48, 49 or 51 as many people believe.
The list of 50 states given below has been arranged in the order in which they were admitted to the Union, starting with Delaware on December 7, 1787, to Hawaii on August 21, 1959. Having said that, it is important to note that the first 13 states had already become the member states after they declared their independence, and formed the United States of America in 1776. In this list, however, these 13 states have been enlisted in accordance to the day on which they ratified the United States Constitution.
The 50 States
Delaware (DE)
Delaware
The First State
Capital : Dover
Admitted to the Union : December 7, 1787
Pennsylvania (PA)
Pennsylvania
Keystone State
Capital : Harrisburg
Admitted to the Union : December 12, 1787
New Jersey (NJ)
New Jersey
The Garden State
Capital : Trenton
Admitted to the Union : December 18, 1787
Georgia (GA)
Georgia
Peach State
Capital : Atlanta
Admitted to the Union : January 2, 1788
Connecticut (CT)
Connecticut
The Constitution State
Capital : Hartford
Admitted to the Union : January 9, 1788
Massachusetts (MA)
Massachusetts
The Bay State
Capital : Boston
Admitted to the Union : February 6, 1788
Maryland (MD)
Maryland
Old Line State
Capital : Annapolis
Admitted to the Union : April 28, 1788
South Carolina (SC)
South Carolina
The Palmetto State
Capital : Columbia
Admitted to the Union : May 23, 1788
New Hampshire (NH)
New Hampshire
The Granite State
Capital : Concord
Admitted to the Union : June 21, 1788
Virginia (VA)
Virginia
The Old Dominion
Capital : Richmond
Admitted to the Union : June 25, 1788
New York (NY)
New York
The Empire State
Capital : Albany
Admitted to the Union : July 26, 1788
North Carolina (NC)
North Carolina (NC)
Tar Heel State
Capital : Raleigh
Admitted to the Union : November 21, 1789
Rhode Island (RI)
Rhode Island (RI)
The Ocean State
Capital : Providence
Admitted to the Union : May 29, 1790
Vermont (VT)
Vermont (VT)
The Green Mountain State
Capital : Montpelier
Admitted to the Union : March 4, 1791
Kentucky (KY)
Kentucky (KY)
Bluegrass State
Capital : Frankfort
Admitted to the Union : June 1, 1792
Tennessee (TN)
Tennessee (TN)
The Volunteer State
Capital : Nashville
Admitted to the Union : June 1, 1796
Ohio (OH)
Ohio (OH)
The Buckeye State
Capital : Columbus
Admitted to the Union : March 1, 1803
Louisiana (LA)
Louisiana (LA)
Pelican State
Capital : Baton Rouge
Admitted to the Union : April 30, 1812
Indiana (IN)
Indiana (IN)
The Hoosier State
Capital : Indianapolis
Admitted to the Union : December 11, 1816
Mississippi (MS)
Mississippi (MS)
The Magnolia State
Capital : Jackson
Admitted to the Union : December 10, 1817
Illinois (IL)
Illinois (IL)
The Prairie State
Capital : Springfield
Admitted to the Union : December 3, 1818
Alabama (AL)
Alabama (AL)
Yellowhammer State
Capital : Montgomery
Admitted to the Union : December 14, 1819
Maine (ME)
Maine (ME)
The Pine Tree State
Capital : Augusta
Admitted to the Union : March 15, 1820
Missouri (MO)
Missouri (MO)
The Show-Me State
Capital : Jefferson City
Admitted to the Union : August 10, 1821
Arkansas (AR)
Arkansas (AR)
The Natural State
Capital : Little Rock
Admitted to the Union : June 15, 1836
Michigan (MI)
Michigan (MI)
The Great Lakes State
Capital : Lansing
Admitted to the Union : January 26, 1837
Florida (FL)
Florida (FL)
The Sunshine State
Capital : Tallahassee
Admitted to the Union : March 3, 1845
Texas (TX)
Texas (TX)
The Lone Star State
Capital : Austin
Admitted to the Union : December 29, 1845
Iowa (IA)
Iowa (IA)
The Hawkeye State
Capital : Des Moines
Admitted to the Union : December 28, 1846
Wisconsin (WI)
Wisconsin (WI)
Badger State
Capital : Madison
Admitted to the Union : May 29, 1848
California (CA)
California (CA)
The Golden State
Capital : Sacramento
Admitted to the Union : September 9, 1850
Minnesota (MN)
Minnesota (MN)
North Star State
Capital : Saint Paul
Admitted to the Union : May 11, 1858
Oregon (OR)
Oregon (OR)
Beaver State
Capital : Salem
Admitted to the Union : February 14, 1859
Kansas (KS)
Kansas (KS)
The Sunflower State
Capital : Topeka
Admitted to the Union : January 29, 1861
West Virginia (WV)
West Virginia (WV)
Mountain State
Capital : Charleston
Admitted to the Union : June 20, 1863
Nevada (NV)
Nevada (NV)
Silver State
Capital : Carson City
Admitted to the Union : October 31, 1864
Nebraska (NE)
Nebraska (NE)
Cornhusker State
Capital : Lincoln
Admitted to the Union : March 1, 1867
Colorado (CO)
Colorado (CO)
The Centennial State
Capital : Denver
Admitted to the Union : August 1, 1876
North Dakota (ND)
North Dakota (ND)
Peace Garden State
Capital : Bismarck
Admitted to the Union : November 2, 1889
South Dakota (SD)
South Dakota (SD)
The Mount Rushmore State
Capital : Pierre
Admitted to the Union : November 2, 1889
Montana (MT)
Montana (MT)
Treasure State
Capital : Helena
Admitted to the Union : November 8, 1889
Washington (WA)
Washington (WA)
The Evergreen State
Capital : Olympia
Admitted to the Union : November 11, 1889
Idaho (ID)
Idaho (ID)
Gem State
Capital : Boise
Admitted to the Union : July 3, 1890
Wyoming (WY)
Wyoming (WY)
Equality State
Capital : Cheyenne
Admitted to the Union : July 10, 1890
Utah (UT)
Utah (UT)
Beehive State
Capital : Salt Lake City
Admitted to the Union : January 4, 1896
Oklahoma (OK)
Oklahoma (OK)
The Sooner State
Capital : Oklahoma City
Admitted to the Union : November 16, 1907
New Mexico (NM)
New Mexico (NM)
Land of Enchantment
Capital : Santa Fe
Admitted to the Union : January 6, 1912
Arizona (AZ)
Arizona (AZ)
The Grand Canyon State
Capital : Phoenix
Admitted to the Union : February 14, 1912
Alaska (AK)
Alaska (AK)
The Last Frontier
Capital : Juneau
Admitted to the Union : January 3, 1959
Hawaii (HI)
Hawaii (HI)
The Aloha State
Capital : Honolulu
Admitted to the Union : August 21, 1959
Until 1959 there were 48 states in America, but the admission of Alaska and Hawaii that year brought the number to 50. Other than these 50 states, there are some areas which are dependent on the United States for administration. These include the American Samoa, Puerto Rico, Virgin Islands, Navassa Island, and the Northern Mariana Islands. Even though the number of states is 50, only the 9 most populous states in the country house more than half of the total population.