State Name Origins and Other Facts

(Read about the origin of State names at “God Bless Bjarnia”)

The States can be sorted by any column item.  Cursor on any State Name shows image of the state and flag.  The Origin and Meaning of state names represent the prevailing consensus.  Click on any underlined name or place for more information.  GDP is 2013 est. Gross Domestic ProductPopulation is according to the 2013 estimate.  The column If Renamed jokingly gives a name based upon contemporary naming practices (See the map.)

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States of America

Sorted by State Name
(Listed in Alphabetical Order)


Row tinted according to the current Governor's party:   Democrat   Independent   Republican 

(Put cursor over number for metric equivalent of square miles and feet data)


#

State Name

Abbrev.

Nickname

If Renamed

Admit Date

Demonym

Population

Governor

Area in Sq. Miles

Total

Land

Water

% Water

Pop./Sq.Mi.


Total

Land

Water

Highest Pt. & Highest Loc.

Lowest Pt. & Lowest Loc.

Difference

State Bird

State Flower

State Tree

State Fish

Largest City

Capital

GDP

GDP/capita

 Name Origin

 Meaning

 Notes

01 

 Alabama

AL   

 Yellowhammer State

Dixie World  

Dec. 14, 1819

Alabamans

4,833,722

Robert Bentley 

52,419 sq.mi. total

50,744 sq.mi. land

1,675 sq.mi. water

3.2% water 

Pop./sq.mi.


92.2/sq.mi. total

95.3/sq.mi. land

2,885.8/sq.mi. water 

2,413 feet

at Cheaha Mountain

0 feet

at Gulf of Mexico

diff.=2,413 feet 

Yellowhammer

Camellia

Longleaf pine

Largemouth bass 

Birmingham

Montgomery 

 $193,566 million

$40,045/capita 

  Choctaw 

 “plant-cutters” 

 

Two Choctaw words: “alba” meaning vegetation, herbs or plants; and “amo” meaning gatherer or picker.

 

02 

 Alaska

AK   

 Last Frontier

SnoRite  

Jan. 03, 1959

Alaskans

735,132

Sean Parnell 

663,267 sq.mi. total

571,951 sq.mi. land

91,316 sq.mi. water

13.8% water 

Pop./sq.mi.


1.1/sq.mi. total

1.3/sq.mi. land

8.1/sq.mi. water 

20,320 feet

at Mount McKinley

0 feet

at Pacific Ocean

diff.=20,320 feet 

Willow ptarmigan

Forget-me-not

Sitka spruce

King salmon 

Anchorage

Juneau 

 $59,355 million

$80,741/capita 

  Aleut 

 “mainland” 

 

From the Aleut word “Alyeska,” meaning “great land” or “that which the sea breaks against.”

 

03 

 Arizona

AZ   

 Grand Canyon State

SunGlo  

Feb. 14, 1912

Arizonans

6,626,624

Jan Brewer 

113,998 sq.mi. total

113,634 sq.mi. land

364 sq.mi. water

0.3% water 

Pop./sq.mi.


58.1/sq.mi. total

58.3/sq.mi. land

18,205.0/sq.mi. water 

12,637 feet

at Humphreys Peak

70 feet

at Colorado River

diff.=12,567 feet 

Cactus wren

Saguaro cactus blossom

Blue palo verde

Arizona trout 

Phoenix

Phoenix 

 $279,024 million

$42,107/capita 

  Aztec, or Pima 

 “silver-bearing,” or “small spring” 

 

Origin of the name is uncertain.

 

04 

 Arkansas

AR   

 Natural State

Ozark Park  

June 15, 1836

Arkansans

2,959,373

Mike Beebe 

53,179 sq.mi. total

52,068 sq.mi. land

1,111 sq.mi. water

2.1% water 

Pop./sq.mi.


55.6/sq.mi. total

56.8/sq.mi. land

2,663.7/sq.mi. water 

2,653 feet

at Magazine Mountain

55 feet

at Ouachita River

diff.=2,598 feet 

Mockingbird

Apple blossom

Pine

none  

Little Rock

Little Rock 

 $124,218 million

$41,974/capita 

  Quapaw 

 Soiux “south wind” 

 

Borrowed from an Illinois rendering of the tribal name kanze see Kansas, below, how the Miami and Illinois refer to the Quapaw.

 

05 

 California

CA   

 Golden State

Like  

Sep. 09, 1850

Californians

38,332,521

Jerry Brown 

163,696 sq.mi. total

155,960 sq.mi. land

7,736 sq.mi. water

4.7% water 

Pop./sq.mi.


234.2/sq.mi. total

245.8/sq.mi. land

4,955.1/sq.mi. water 

14,505 feet

at Mount Whitney

-282 feet

at Badwater Basin

diff.=14,787 feet 

California quail

California poppy

Coast Redwood, Giant Sequoia

Golden trout 

Los Angeles

Sacramento 

 $2,202,678 million

$57,462/capita 

  Spanish 

 where Queen Califia ruled 

 

From “Califia” queen of a mythical Spanish island in a Spanish romance Las Sergas de Esplandian by Garcia Ordo?ez de Montalvo, 1510.

 

06 

 Colorado

CO   

 Centennial State

Healthy Heights  

Aug. 01, 1876

Coloradans

5,268,367

John Hickenlooper 

104,094 sq.mi. total

103,718 sq.mi. land

376 sq.mi. water

0.4% water 

Pop./sq.mi.


50.6/sq.mi. total

50.8/sq.mi. land

14,011.6/sq.mi. water 

14,440 feet

at Mount Elbert

3317 feet

at Arikaree River

diff.=11,123 feet 

Lark bunting

Rocky mountain columbine

Colorado blue spruce

Greenback cutthroat trout 

Denver

Denver 

 $294,443 million

$55,889/capita 

  Spanish 

 “red color” 

 

Originally referring to the Colorado River.

 

07 

 Connecticut

CT   

 Constitution State

Insure  

Jan. 09, 1788

Nutmeggers or Connecticuters

3,596,080

Dan Malloy 

5,543 sq.mi. total

4,845 sq.mi. land

698 sq.mi. water

12.6% water 

Pop./sq.mi.


648.8/sq.mi. total

742.2/sq.mi. land

5,152.0/sq.mi. water 

2,380 feet

at Mount Frissell

0 feet

at Long Island Sound

diff.=2,380 feet 

American robin

Mountain laurel

White oak

American shad 

Bridgeport

Hartford 

 $249,251 million

$69,312/capita 

  Mohican/Algonquin 

 “at the long tidal river” 

 

From the Indian name for the Connecticut River.

 

08 

 Delaware

DE   

 First State

First National State  

Dec. 07, 1787

Delawareans

925,749

Jack Markell 

2,489 sq.mi. total

1,953 sq.mi. land

536 sq.mi. water

21.5% water 

Pop./sq.mi.


371.9/sq.mi. total

474.0/sq.mi. land

1,727.1/sq.mi. water 

451 feet

at Ebright Azimuth

0 feet

at Atlantic Ocean

diff.=451 feet 

Blue hen chicken

Peach blossom

American holly

Weakfish 

Wilmington

Dover 

 $62,703 million

$67,732/capita 

  French via English 

 “of the war” 

 

After the Delaware River, which was named for Lord de la Warr.

 

09 

 District of Columbia

DC   

 Capital

AlphaCity  

Nov. 17, 1800

Washingtonians

646,449

Gray, Vincent C. 

68 sq.mi. total

61 sq.mi. land

7 sq.mi. water

10.1% water 

Pop./sq.mi.


9,506.6/sq.mi. total

10,597.5/sq.mi. land

92,349.9/sq.mi. water 

409 feet

at Fort Reno Park

0 feet

at Potomac River

diff.=409 feet 

Wood Thrush

American Beauty Rose

Scarlet Oak

none 

Washington

Washington 

 $113,362 million

$159,796/capita 

  English 

 Named after the first US President 

 

Named after the first US President

 

10 

 Florida

FL   

 Sunshine State

AmeriBeach  

Mar. 03, 1845

Floridians

19,552,860

Rick Scott 

65,755 sq.mi. total

53,927 sq.mi. land

11,828 sq.mi. water

18.0% water 

Pop./sq.mi.


297.4/sq.mi. total

362.6/sq.mi. land

1,653.1/sq.mi. water 

345 feet

at Britton Hill

0 feet

at Atlantic Ocean

diff.=345 feet 

Northern mockingbird

Orange blossom

Sabal palm

Florida largemouth bass 

Jacksonville

Tallahassee 

 $800,492 million

$40,940/capita 

  Spanish 

 “flowers” 

 

Explorer Ponce de Leon named the land after “Pascua de Florida” “Feast of Flowers” on Palm Sunday of 1513.

 

11 

 Georgia

GA   

 Peach State

Peaches N' More  

Jan. 02, 1788

Georgians

9,992,167

Nathan Deal 

59,425 sq.mi. total

57,906 sq.mi. land

1,519 sq.mi. water

2.6% water 

Pop./sq.mi.


168.1/sq.mi. total

172.6/sq.mi. land

6,578.1/sq.mi. water 

4,784 feet

at Brasstown Bald

0 feet

at Atlantic Ocean

diff.=4,784 feet 

Brown thrasher

Cherokee rose

Southern live oak

Largemouth bass 

Atlanta

Atlanta 

 $454,532 million

$45,489/capita 

  Latin 

 “George” 

 

The feminine Latin form of “George,” named after King George II of England

 

12 

 Hawaii

HI   

 Aloha State

Isle Be Seaing U  

Aug. 21, 1959

Hawaiians (natives) Islanders (non-natives)

1,404,045

Neil Abercrombie 

10,931 sq.mi. total

6,423 sq.mi. land

4,508 sq.mi. water

41.2% water 

Pop./sq.mi.


128.4/sq.mi. total

218.6/sq.mi. land

311.5/sq.mi. water 

13,803 feet

at Mauna Kea

0 feet

at Pacific Ocean

diff.=13,803 feet 

Nēnē or Hawaiian Goo

Hawaiian hibiscus

Candlenut tree

Reef triggerfish 

Honolulu

Honolulu 

 $75,235 million

$53,584/capita 

  Hawaiian 

 “small or new homeland” 

 

May have been named for the traditional home of the Polynesians, called “Owhyhee.”

 

13 

 Idaho

ID   

 Gem State

Perpetua  

July 03, 1890

Idahoans

1,612,136

Butch Otter 

83,570 sq.mi. total

82,747 sq.mi. land

823 sq.mi. water

1.0% water 

Pop./sq.mi.


19.3/sq.mi. total

19.5/sq.mi. land

1,958.9/sq.mi. water 

12,668 feet

at Borah Peak

710 feet

at Snake River

diff.=11,958 feet 

Mountain bluebird

Syringa, mock orange

Western white pine

Cutthroat trout 

Boise

Boise 

 $62,247 million

$38,612/capita 

  English 

 invented word 

 

Mining lobbyist George M. Willing invented the name saying it was a Shoshone Indian word that meant “Gem of the Mountains.”

 

14 

 Illinois

IL   

 Prairie State

Chi+  

Dec. 03, 1818

Illinoisan or Illinoians

12,882,135

Pat Quinn 

57,914 sq.mi. total

55,583 sq.mi. land

2,331 sq.mi. water

4.0% water 

Pop./sq.mi.


222.4/sq.mi. total

231.8/sq.mi. land

5,526.4/sq.mi. water 

1,235 feet

at Charles Mound

279 feet

at Mississippi River

diff.=956 feet 

Northern cardinal

Violet

White oak

Bluegill 

Chicago

Springfield 

 $720,692 million

$55,945/capita 

  Algonquian 

 “warriors” or “superior men” 

 

By French explorer Robert Cavelier Sieur de La Salle in 1679 after the Indians he found living along the banks. “Illini” was a confed. of Indian tribes.

 

15 

 Indiana

IN   

 Hoosier State

Town and Country  

Dec. 11, 1816

Hoosiers or Indianians or Indianans

6,570,902

Mike Pence 

36,418 sq.mi. total

35,867 sq.mi. land

551 sq.mi. water

1.5% water 

Pop./sq.mi.


180.4/sq.mi. total

183.2/sq.mi. land

11,925.4/sq.mi. water 

1,257 feet

at Hoosier Hill

320 feet

at Ohio River

diff.=937 feet 

Northern cardinal

Peony

Tulip-tree

none  

Indianapolis

Indianapolis 

 $317,102 million

$48,259/capita 

  English 

 “Land of the Indians.” 

 

The natives were called Indians because of Columbus’ error thinking he had reached the Asian India.

 

16 

 Iowa

IA   

 Hawkeye State

Sunny Farms  

Dec. 28, 1846

Iowans or Hawkeyes

3,090,416

Terry Branstad 

56,272 sq.mi. total

55,870 sq.mi. land

402 sq.mi. water

0.7% water 

Pop./sq.mi.


54.9/sq.mi. total

55.3/sq.mi. land

7,687.6/sq.mi. water 

1,670 feet

at Hawkeye Point

480 feet

at Mississippi River

diff.=1,190 feet 

Eastern goldfinch

Wild Prairie Rose

Bur oak

Channel catfish 

Des Moines

Des Moines 

 $165,767 million

$53,639/capita 

  Dakota 

 “sleepy ones” 

 

From the natives tribal name “Ayuxwa” which was spelled by the French as “Ayoua” and by the English as “Ioway.”

 

17 

 Kansas

KS   

 Sunflower State

Midstate  

Jan. 29, 1861

Kansans or Jayhawkers

2,893,957

Sam Brownback 

82,277 sq.mi. total

81,815 sq.mi. land

462 sq.mi. water

0.6% water 

Pop./sq.mi.


35.2/sq.mi. total

35.4/sq.mi. land

6,264.0/sq.mi. water 

4,039 feet

at Mount Sunflower

679 feet

at Verdigris River

diff.=3,360 feet 

Western Meadowlark

Sunflower

Eastern cottonwood

none  

Wichita

Topeka 

 $144,062 million

$49,780/capita 

  Kaw 

 “south wind” 

 

From the Kansas River which was named by the French after the Kanze natives who lived there.

 

18 

 Kentucky

KY   

 Bluegrass State

Equus  

June 01, 1792

Kentuckians

4,395,295

Steve Beshear 

40,409 sq.mi. total

39,728 sq.mi. land

681 sq.mi. water

1.7% water 

Pop./sq.mi.


108.8/sq.mi. total

110.6/sq.mi. land

6,454.2/sq.mi. water 

4,145 feet

at Black Mountain

257 feet

at Mississippi River

diff.=3,888 feet 

Northern cardinal

Goldenrod

Tulip-tree

Kentucky spotted bass 

Louisville

Frankfort 

 $183,373 million

$41,720/capita 

  Iroquoian 

 “prairie” or “field” 

 

From the Iroquois Indian name referring to the landscape. Possibly a Wyandot or Iroquois name meaning “land of tomorrow.”

 

19 

 Louisiana

LA   

 Pelican State

Hot N' Humid  

Apr. 30, 1812

Louisianians or Louisianans

4,625,470

Bobby Jindal 

51,840 sq.mi. total

43,562 sq.mi. land

8,278 sq.mi. water

16.0% water 

Pop./sq.mi.


89.2/sq.mi. total

106.2/sq.mi. land

558.8/sq.mi. water 

535 feet

at Driskill Mountain

-8 feet

at New Orleans

diff.=543 feet 

Brown pelican

Magnolia

Bald cypress

White crappie 

New Orleans

Baton Rouge 

 $253,576 million

$54,822/capita 

  French 

 in honor of King “Louis” 

 

French explorer Robert Cavelier Sieur de La Salle, first European to sail the Miss. River delta, named the area La Louisianne after Louis XIV of France.

 

20 

 Maine

ME   

 Pine Tree State

@lantia  

Mar. 15, 1820

Mainers or Main Staters

1,328,302

Paul LePage 

35,385 sq.mi. total

30,862 sq.mi. land

4,523 sq.mi. water

12.8% water 

Pop./sq.mi.


37.5/sq.mi. total

43.0/sq.mi. land

293.7/sq.mi. water 

5,368 feet

at Mount Katahdin

0 feet

at Atlantic Ocean

diff.=5,368 feet 

Black-capped chickadee

White pine cone and tassel

Eastern white pine

Landlocked Atlantic salmon 

Portland

Augusta 

 $54,755 million

$41,222/capita 

  English or French 

 “the main land” 

 

May refer to the mainland, as opposed to the coastal islands, or may be named after the French province of Maine.

 

21 

 Maryland

MD   

 Old Line State

Heritage Home  

Apr. 28, 1788

Marylanders

5,928,814

Martin O'Malley 

12,407 sq.mi. total

9,774 sq.mi. land

2,633 sq.mi. water

21.2% water 

Pop./sq.mi.


477.9/sq.mi. total

606.6/sq.mi. land

2,251.7/sq.mi. water 

3,360 feet

at Hoye-Crest

0 feet

at Atlantic Ocean

diff.=3,360 feet 

Baltimore oriole

Black-eyed susan

White oak

Rockfish 

Baltimore

Annapolis 

 $324,382 million

$54,713/capita 

  English 

 in honor of Queen “Mary” 

 

After Queen Henrietta Maria of England, wife of King Charles I.

 

22 

 Massachusetts

MA   

 Bay State

Bay Way  

Feb. 06, 1788

Bay Staters or Massachusettsans

6,692,824

Deval Patrick 

10,555 sq.mi. total

7,840 sq.mi. land

2,715 sq.mi. water

25.7% water 

Pop./sq.mi.


634.1/sq.mi. total

853.7/sq.mi. land

2,465.1/sq.mi. water 

3,492 feet

at Mount Greylock

0 feet

at Atlantic Ocean

diff.=3,492 feet 

Black-capped chickadee

Mayflower

American elm

Cod 

Boston

Boston 

 $446,323 million

$66,687/capita 

  Algonquian 

 “great hill place” or “by the little mount 

 

Named after the natives that lived in the region.

 

23 

 Michigan

MI   

 Great Lakes State

Aqua-rama  

Jan. 26, 1837

Michiganians or Michiganders

9,895,622

Rick Snyder 

96,716 sq.mi. total

56,804 sq.mi. land

39,912 sq.mi. water

41.3% water 

Pop./sq.mi.


102.3/sq.mi. total

174.2/sq.mi. land

247.9/sq.mi. water 

1,979 feet

at Mount Arvon

571 feet

at Lake Erie

diff.=1,408 feet 

American robin

Apple blossom

Eastern white pine

Brook trout 

Detroit

Lansing 

 $432,573 million

$43,714/capita 

  Ottawa or Chippewa 

 “large body of water” 

 

Also possibly from the Chippewa Indian word “majigan” which means “clearing of land.”

 

24 

 Minnesota

MN   

 North Star State

Lakes-a-plenty  

May 11, 1858

Minnesotans

5,420,380

Mark Dayton 

86,939 sq.mi. total

79,610 sq.mi. land

7,329 sq.mi. water

8.4% water 

Pop./sq.mi.


62.3/sq.mi. total

68.1/sq.mi. land

739.6/sq.mi. water 

2,301 feet

at Eagle Mountain

601 feet

at Lake Superior

diff.=1,700 feet 

Common loon

Pink and white lady's slipper

Red Pine

Walleye 

Minneapolis

St. Paul 

 $312,081 million

$57,575/capita 

  Dakota 

 “cloudy water” 

 

From the Minnesota River named by the Dakota Sioux.

 

25 

 Mississippi

MS   

 Magnolia State

Magnolia Meadows  

Dec. 10, 1817

Mississippians

2,991,207

Phil Bryant 

48,430 sq.mi. total

46,907 sq.mi. land

1,523 sq.mi. water

3.1% water 

Pop./sq.mi.


61.8/sq.mi. total

63.8/sq.mi. land

1,964.0/sq.mi. water 

807 feet

at Woodall Mountain

0 feet

at Gulf of Mexico

diff.=807 feet 

Northern mockingbird

Magnolia

Southern magnolia

Largemouth bass 

Jackson

Jackson 

 $105,163 million

$35,157/capita 

  Ojibwe 

 “great river” 

 

The Indian name for the river that was used on Robert Cavelier Sieur de La Salle’s map.

 

26 

 Missouri

MO   

 Show Me State

Riverview  

Aug. 10, 1821

Missourians

6,044,171

Jay Nixon 

69,704 sq.mi. total

68,886 sq.mi. land

818 sq.mi. water

1.2% water 

Pop./sq.mi.


86.7/sq.mi. total

87.7/sq.mi. land

7,389.0/sq.mi. water 

1,772 feet

at Taum Sauk Mountain

230 feet

at Saint Francis River

diff.=1,542 feet 

Eastern bluebird

Hawthorn

Flowering dogwood

Channel catfish 

Kansas City

Jefferson City 

 $276,345 million

$45,721/capita 

  Algonquian 

 “dugout canoe” 

 

From the Missouri River, after the Missouri tribe known for their dugout canoes.

 

27 

 Montana

MT   

 Treasure State

Skyview  

Nov. 08, 1889

Montanan

1,015,165

Steve Bullock 

147,042 sq.mi. total

145,552 sq.mi. land

1,490 sq.mi. water

1.0% water 

Pop./sq.mi.


6.9/sq.mi. total

7.0/sq.mi. land

681.3/sq.mi. water 

12,807 feet

at Granite Peak

1800 feet

at Kootenai River

diff.=11,007 feet 

Western meadowlark

Hawthorn

Ponderosa pine

Cutthroat trout 

Billings

Helena 

 $44,040 million

$43,382/capita 

  Spanish 

 “mountainous” 

 

A derivation of the Latin word “montaanus.”

 

28 

 Nebraska

NE   

 Cornhusker State

Korn-O-copia  

Mar. 01, 1867

Nebraskans; sometimes Cornhuskers

1,868,516

Dave Heineman 

77,354 sq.mi. total

76,873 sq.mi. land

481 sq.mi. water

0.6% water 

Pop./sq.mi.


24.2/sq.mi. total

24.3/sq.mi. land

3,884.6/sq.mi. water 

5,424 feet

at Panorama Point

849 feet

at Missouri River

diff.=4,575 feet 

Western meadowlark

Goldenrod

Eastern cottonwood

Channel catfish 

Omaha

Lincoln 

 $109,614 million

$58,664/capita 

  Soiux 

 “flat waters” 

 

Referring to the Platte River, which means “flat river” in French.

 

29 

 Nevada

NV   

 Silver State

Win-A-Lot  

Oct. 31, 1864

Nevadans

2,790,136

Brian Sandoval 

110,561 sq.mi. total

109,826 sq.mi. land

735 sq.mi. water

0.7% water 

Pop./sq.mi.


25.2/sq.mi. total

25.4/sq.mi. land

3,796.1/sq.mi. water 

13,147 feet

at Boundary Peak

479 feet

at Colorado River

diff.=12,668 feet 

Mountain bluebird

Sagebrush

Single-leaf Pinyon, Bristlecon

Lahontan cutthroat trout 

Las Vegas

Carson City 

 $132,024 million

$47,318/capita 

  Spanish 

 “snow covered” 

 

After the Sierra Nevada, or “snowy range.”

 

30 

 New Hampshire

NH   

 Granite State

Hard Rock State  

June 21, 1788

New Hampshirites; Granite Staters

1,323,459

Maggie Hassan 

9,350 sq.mi. total

8,968 sq.mi. land

382 sq.mi. water

4.1% water 

Pop./sq.mi.


141.5/sq.mi. total

147.6/sq.mi. land

3,464.6/sq.mi. water 

6,288 feet

at Mount Washington

0 feet

at Atlantic Ocean

diff.=6,288 feet 

Purple finch

Purple lilac

American white birch

Brook trout 

Manchester

Concord 

 $67,848 million

$51,266/capita 

  English 

 New + name of an English county 

 

Named for county of Hampshire, England, by Captain John Mason.

 

31 

 New Jersey

NJ   

 Garden State

Consolidated Peoples  

Dec. 18, 1787

New Jerseyites; New Jerseyans

8,899,339

Chris Christie 

8,721 sq.mi. total

7,417 sq.mi. land

1,304 sq.mi. water

15.0% water 

Pop./sq.mi.


1,020.4/sq.mi. total

1,199.9/sq.mi. land

6,824.6/sq.mi. water 

1,803 feet

at High Point

0 feet

at Atlantic Ocean

diff.=1,803 feet 

Eastern goldfinch

Violet

Northern red oak

Brook trout 

Newark

Trenton 

 $543,071 million

$61,024/capita 

  English 

 New + name of an island 

 

Name after the island of Jersey in the English Channel by Sir John Berkley and Sir George Carteret.

 

32 

 New Mexico

NM   

 Land of Enchantment

I Can't Believe It's Not Mexico  

Jan. 06, 1912

New Mexicans

2,085,287

Susana Martinez 

121,589 sq.mi. total

121,355 sq.mi. land

234 sq.mi. water

0.2% water 

Pop./sq.mi.


17.2/sq.mi. total

17.2/sq.mi. land

8,911.5/sq.mi. water 

13,167 feet

at Wheeler Peak

2842 feet

at Red Bluff Reservoir

diff.=10,325 feet 

Roadrunner

Yucca flower

Piņon Pine

Rio Grande cutthroat trout 

Albuquerque

Santa Fe 

 $92,245 million

$44,236/capita 

  Aztec via Spanish 

 refers to the land north of the upper Rio Grande 

 

Anglicized version of “Nuevo Mexico,” from Aztec meaning “place of the god Mexitli.”

 

33 

 New York

NY   

 Empire State

DollarDaze  

July 26, 1788

New Yorkers

19,651,127

Andrew Cuomo 

54,556 sq.mi. total

47,214 sq.mi. land

7,342 sq.mi. water

13.5% water 

Pop./sq.mi.


360.2/sq.mi. total

416.2/sq.mi. land

2,676.5/sq.mi. water 

5,334 feet

at Mount Marcy

0 feet

at Atlantic Ocean

diff.=5,334 feet 

Eastern bluebird

Rose

Sugar maple

Brook trout 

New York City

Albany 

 $1,310,712 million

$66,699/capita 

  English 

 New + name of an English duke 

 

After York, England, to honor the then Duke of York later King James II of England.

 

34 

 North Carolina

NC   

 Old North State

Phatlantic  

Nov. 21, 1789

North Carolinians

9,848,060

Pat McCrory 

53,819 sq.mi. total

48,711 sq.mi. land

5,108 sq.mi. water

9.5% water 

Pop./sq.mi.


183.0/sq.mi. total

202.2/sq.mi. land

1,928.0/sq.mi. water 

6,684 feet

at Mount Mitchell

0 feet

at Atlantic Ocean

diff.=6,684 feet 

Northern cardinal

Flowering dogwood

Pine

Channel Bass 

Charlotte

Raleigh 

 $471,365 million

$47,864/capita 

  Latin 

 North + “Charles” 

 

From the name Carolus, in honor of King Charles I of England.

 

35 

 North Dakota

ND   

 Peace Garden State

Northland  

Nov. 02, 1889

North Dakotans

723,393

Jack Dalrymple 

70,700 sq.mi. total

68,976 sq.mi. land

1,724 sq.mi. water

2.4% water 

Pop./sq.mi.


10.2/sq.mi. total

10.5/sq.mi. land

419.6/sq.mi. water 

3,506 feet

at White Butte

750 feet

at Red River

diff.=2,756 feet 

Western meadowlark

Wild prairie rose

American elm

Northern pike 

Fargo

Bismarck 

 $56,329 million

$77,868/capita 

  Sioux 

 North + “ally” 

 

After the Dakota tribe.

 

36 

 Ohio

OH   

 Buckeye State

South Lake Shores  

Mar. 01, 1803

Ohioans; or Buckeyes

11,570,808

John Kasich 

44,825 sq.mi. total

40,948 sq.mi. land

3,877 sq.mi. water

8.6% water 

Pop./sq.mi.


258.1/sq.mi. total

282.6/sq.mi. land

2,984.5/sq.mi. water 

1,550 feet

at Campbell Hill

455 feet

at Ohio River

diff.=1,095 feet 

Northern cardinal

Scarlet carnation

Ohio buckeye

Walleye 

Columbus

Columbus 

 $565,272 million

$48,853/capita 

  Iroquois 

 “large creek” 

 

After the name of both the Ohio River and Allegheny River. Often incorrectly given as “beautiful river”

 

37 

 Oklahoma

OK   

 Sooner State

Indiana  

Nov. 16, 1907

Oklahomans

3,850,568

Mary Fallin 

69,898 sq.mi. total

68,667 sq.mi. land

1,231 sq.mi. water

1.8% water 

Pop./sq.mi.


55.1/sq.mi. total

56.1/sq.mi. land

3,128.0/sq.mi. water 

4,973 feet

at Black Mesa

289 feet

at Little River

diff.=4,684 feet 

Scissor-tailed flycatcher

Oklahoma rose

Eastern redbud

White bass 

Oklahoma City

Oklahoma City 

 $182,086 million

$47,288/capita 

  Choctaw 

 “red people” 

 

Invented by native American missionary Allen Wright from two Choctaw words, “ukla” meaning people and “huma” meaning red.

 

38 

 Oregon

OR   

 Beaver State

Ocean View  

Feb. 14, 1859

Oregonians

3,930,065

John Kitzhaber 

98,381 sq.mi. total

95,997 sq.mi. land

2,384 sq.mi. water

2.4% water 

Pop./sq.mi.


39.9/sq.mi. total

40.9/sq.mi. land

1,648.5/sq.mi. water 

11,249 feet

at Mount Hood

0 feet

at Pacific Ocean

diff.=11,249 feet 

Western meadowlark

Oregon grape

Douglas fir

Chinook salmon 

Portland

Salem 

 $219,590 million

$55,874/capita 

  Uncertain 

 “beautiful” 

 

First named by Major Robert Rogers in a petition to King George III.

 

39 

 Pennsylvania

PA   

 Keystone State

Gettysburg Estates  

Dec. 12, 1787

Pennsylvanians

12,773,801

Tom Corbett 

46,055 sq.mi. total

44,816 sq.mi. land

1,239 sq.mi. water

2.7% water 

Pop./sq.mi.


277.4/sq.mi. total

285.0/sq.mi. land

10,309.8/sq.mi. water 

3,213 feet

at Mount Davis

0 feet

at Delaware River

diff.=3,213 feet 

Ruffed grouse

Mountain laurel

Eastern hemlock

Brook trout 

Philadelphia

Harrisburg 

 $644,915 million

$50,487/capita 

  Latin 

 “Penn’s woods” 

 

After Admiral William Penn.

 

40 

 Rhode Island

RI   

 Ocean State

MicroState  

May 29, 1790

Rhode Islanders

1,051,511

Lincoln Chafee 

1,545 sq.mi. total

1,045 sq.mi. land

500 sq.mi. water

32.4% water 

Pop./sq.mi.


680.6/sq.mi. total

1,006.2/sq.mi. land

2,103.0/sq.mi. water 

812 feet

at Jerimoth Hill

0 feet

at Atlantic Ocean

diff.=812 feet 

Rhode Island red chicken

Violet

Red maple

Striped bass 

Providence

Providence 

 $53,184 million

$50,579/capita 

  Dutch 

 “red island” 

 

Named “Roodt Eylandt” by Dutch explorer Adrian Block, it was anglicized when the region came under British rule.

 

41 

 South Carolina

SC   

 Palmetto State

Charlie  

May 23, 1788

South Carolinians

4,774,839

Nikki Haley 

32,020 sq.mi. total

30,109 sq.mi. land

1,911 sq.mi. water

6.0% water 

Pop./sq.mi.


149.1/sq.mi. total

158.6/sq.mi. land

2,498.6/sq.mi. water 

3,560 feet

at Sassafras Mountain

0 feet

at Atlantic Ocean

diff.=3,560 feet 

Carolina wren

Yellow jessamine

Sabal palm

Striped bass 

Columbia

Columbia 

 $183,561 million

$38,443/capita 

  Latin 

 South + “Charles” 

 

from the name Carolus, in honor of King Charles I of England.

 

42 

 South Dakota

SD   

 Mount Rushmore State

South Northland  

Nov. 02, 1889

South Dakotans

844,877

Dennis Daugaard 

77,116 sq.mi. total

75,884 sq.mi. land

1,232 sq.mi. water

1.6% water 

Pop./sq.mi.


11.0/sq.mi. total

11.1/sq.mi. land

685.8/sq.mi. water 

7,244 feet

at Harney Peak

966 feet

at Big Stone Lake

diff.=6,278 feet 

Common pheasant

Pasque flower

Black Hills spruce

Walleye 

Sioux Falls

Pierre 

 $46,732 million

$55,312/capita 

  Sioux 

 South + “ally” 

 

After the Dakota tribe.

 

43 

 Tennessee

TN   

 Volunteer State

Opry-Tune-Itee  

June 01, 1796

Tennesseans

6,495,978

Bill Haslam 

42,143 sq.mi. total

41,217 sq.mi. land

926 sq.mi. water

2.2% water 

Pop./sq.mi.


154.1/sq.mi. total

157.6/sq.mi. land

7,015.1/sq.mi. water 

6,643 feet

at Clingmans Dome

178 feet

at Mississippi River

diff.=6,465 feet 

Northern mockingbird

Iris

Tulip-tree

Largemouth bass 

Memphis

Nashville 

 $287,633 million

$44,279/capita 

  Cherokee 

 possibly “river with a big bend” 

 

After the river and from a Cherokee village in the region that was called “Tanasie.”

 

44 

 Texas

TX   

 Lone Star State

Superultramax  

Dec. 29, 1845

Texans

26,448,193

Rick Perry 

268,581 sq.mi. total

261,797 sq.mi. land

6,784 sq.mi. water

2.5% water 

Pop./sq.mi.


98.5/sq.mi. total

101.0/sq.mi. land

3,898.6/sq.mi. water 

8,751 feet

at Guadalupe Peak

0 feet

at Gulf of Mexico

diff.=8,751 feet 

Northern mockingbird

Texas bluebonnet

Pecan

Guadalupe bass 

Houston

Austin 

 $1,532,623 million

$57,948/capita 

  Caddo 

 “friend” 

 

“Tejas” referred to the Caddo tribes. The Spanish made it texas.

 

45 

 Utah

UT   

 Beehive State

Salterra  

Jan. 04, 1896

Utahns or Utahans

2,900,872

Gary Herbert 

84,899 sq.mi. total

82,144 sq.mi. land

2,755 sq.mi. water

3.2% water 

Pop./sq.mi.


34.2/sq.mi. total

35.3/sq.mi. land

1,052.9/sq.mi. water 

13,528 feet

at Kings Peak

2000 feet

at Beaver Dam Wash

diff.=11,528 feet 

California gull

Sego lily

Blue spruce

Bonneville cutthroat trout 

Salt Lake City

Salt Lake City 

 $141,240 million

$48,689/capita 

  Western Apache 

 “high” 

 

Europeans took the Apache word “Yuttahih” their name for the Navajo tribes living higher in the mountains to refer to the Utes.

 

46 

 Vermont

VT   

 Green Mountain State

Ethan Allendale  

Mar. 04, 1791

Vermonters

626,630

Peter Shumlin 

9,614 sq.mi. total

9,249 sq.mi. land

365 sq.mi. water

3.8% water 

Pop./sq.mi.


65.2/sq.mi. total

67.8/sq.mi. land

1,716.8/sq.mi. water 

4,395 feet

at Mount Mansfield

95 feet

at Lake Champlain

diff.=4,300 feet 

Hermit thrush

Red clover

Sugar maple

Brook trout, walleye 

Burlington

Montpelier 

 $29,509 million

$47,092/capita 

  French 

 “green mountain” 

 

The English form of the name “Verd Mont" given by French explorer Samuel de Champlain

 

47 

 Virginia

VA   

 Old Dominion State

Washington  

June 25, 1788

Virginians

8,260,405

Terry McAuliffe 

42,774 sq.mi. total

39,594 sq.mi. land

3,180 sq.mi. water

7.4% water 

Pop./sq.mi.


193.1/sq.mi. total

208.6/sq.mi. land

2,597.6/sq.mi. water 

5,729 feet

at Mount Rogers

0 feet

at Atlantic Ocean

diff.=5,729 feet 

Northern cardinal

American dogwood

Flowering dogwood

Brook trout 

Virginia Beach

Richmond 

 $452,585 million

$54,790/capita 

  Latin 

 “country of the Virgin” 

 

After Elizabeth I of England, who was known as the “Virgin Queen” because she never married.

 

48 

 Washington

WA   

 Evergreen State

Kountry Korner  

Nov. 11, 1889

Washingtonians

6,971,406

Jay Inslee 

71,300 sq.mi. total

66,544 sq.mi. land

4,756 sq.mi. water

6.7% water 

Pop./sq.mi.


97.8/sq.mi. total

104.8/sq.mi. land

1,465.8/sq.mi. water 

14,410 feet

at Mount Rainier

0 feet

at Pacific Ocean

diff.=14,410 feet 

Willow goldfinch

Coast rhododendron

Western hemlock

Steelhead trout 

Seattle

Olympia 

 $408,049 million

$58,532/capita 

  English 

 English surname 

 

After the first U.S. president, George Washington.

 

49 

 West Virginia

WV   

 Mountain State

Friendly Folks  

June 20, 1863

West Virginians

1,854,304

Earl Ray Tomblin 

24,230 sq.mi. total

24,078 sq.mi. land

152 sq.mi. water

0.6% water 

Pop./sq.mi.


76.5/sq.mi. total

77.0/sq.mi. land

12,199.4/sq.mi. water 

4,863 feet

at Spruce Knob

0 feet

at Potomac River

diff.=4,863 feet 

Northern cardinal

Rhododendron

Sugar maple

Brook trout 

Charleston

Charleston 

 $73,970 million

$39,891/capita 

  Latin 

 state west of Virginia 

 

In 1863, when the western counties of Virginia were about to be admitted to the Union, delegates chose the state name over Kanawha, Allegheny, and Augusta.

 

50 

 Wisconsin

WI   

 Badger State

Dairy Kween  

May 29, 1848

Wisconsinites

5,742,713

Scott Walker 

65,498 sq.mi. total

54,310 sq.mi. land

11,188 sq.mi. water

17.1% water 

Pop./sq.mi.


87.7/sq.mi. total

105.7/sq.mi. land

513.3/sq.mi. water 

1,951 feet

at Timms Hill

579 feet

at Lake Michigan

diff.=1,372 feet 

American robin

Wood violet

Sugar maple

Muskellunge 

Milwaukee

Madison 

 $282,486 million

$49,190/capita 

  Chippewa 

 possibly “grassy place” 

 

After the Wisconsin River. Origin is uncertain.

 

51 

 Wyoming

WY   

 Equality State

Fin and Fur  

July 10, 1890

Wyomingites

582,658

Matt Mead 

97,814 sq.mi. total

97,101 sq.mi. land

713 sq.mi. water

0.7% water 

Pop./sq.mi.


6.0/sq.mi. total

6.0/sq.mi. land

817.2/sq.mi. water 

13,809 feet

at Gannett Peak

3099 feet

at Belle Fourche River

diff.=10,710 feet 

Western meadowlark

Indian paintbrush

Plains cottonwood

Cutthroat trout 

Cheyenne

Cheyenne 

 $45,432 million

$77,974/capita 

  Algonquian 

 “wiche weamiing” or “on the great plain” 

 

After a tribal village in Pennsylvania wiped out in 1778 by a combined force of British soldiers, Tories sympathizers and Iroquois Indians.

 

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