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Population Increase by State, 1990–2000

Subregions of the United States

A HUMAN PERSPECTIVE America’s back roads were the beat of reporter and author Charles Kuralt for more than 20 years. Beginning in the 1960s, he traveled by van through every region of the country. In his “On the Road” series for television, he reported on the uniqueness of the lives of ordinary Americans. He said […]

Agriculture and Industry of the United States

Economy and Culture of the United States

A HUMAN PERSPECTIVE The average American worker in 1790 was a self-employed farmer. The farmer spent each work day, sunrise to sunset, in backbreaking labor in the field. Most of the crops and livestock raised were consumed by the farm family. In the 1890s, the average American worker labored in a manufacturing or service industry, […]

History and Government of the United States

A HUMAN PERSPECTIVE Women were North America’s first farmers. In all early cultures except the hunter-gatherer culture of the Southwest, women cultivated the land. They discovered which wild plants could be used as food for the family. They planted the seeds, tended the garden, harvested the crops, and prepared food for meals. Corn, beans, and […]

The St. Lawrence Seaway

The United States and Canada: Human–Environment Interaction

A HUMAN PERSPECTIVE The sun-baked American Southwest was a harsh environment for its early inhabitants, the ancestors of today’s Pueblo peoples. But these early settlers made good use of available resources. From the land, they took clay and stone building materials. They built multi-room, apartment-like dwellings in cliffs. This gave protection against daytime heat, nighttime […]

Vegetation

The United States and Canada: Climate and Vegetation

A HUMAN PERSPECTIVE A little gold and bitter cold—that is what thousands of prospectors found in Alaska and the Yukon Territory during the Klondike gold rushes of the 1890s. Most of these fortune hunters were unprepared for the harsh climate and inhospitable land of the far north. Winters were long and cold, the ground frozen. […]

Natural Resources of the U.S. and Canada

The United States and Canada: Landforms and Resources

A HUMAN PERSPECTIVE The beauty and abundance of the land was a source of wonder to early explorers of North America. One who traveled the Atlantic coast referred to the “amazing extent of uncultivated land, covered with forests, and intermixed with vast lakes and marshes.” A 17th–century French expedition described “a beautiful river, large, broad, […]

U.S. Possessions

NAVASSA ISLAND Uninhabited island owned by the United States Area: 2 sq. mi. (5.2 sq km) BAKER & HOWLAND ISLANDS Unincorporated territories administered by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service as part of the National Wildlife Refuge Official Name: British Indian Ocean Territory Area: 0.5-0.6 sq. mi. (1.40-1.60 sq km), each JARVIS ISLAND Uninhabited territory […]

U.S. Virgin Islands map

U.S. Virgin Islands

AT A GLANCE Government: Unincorporated; purchased by the United States in 1917 Size: 136 sq. mi. (352 sq km) Population: 102,951 (2016) Electoral votes: 0 U.S. Representatives: 1 (nonvoting) THE PLACE The Virgin Islands are two groups of islands in the Atlantic Ocean, 40 miles (64 km) east of Puerto Rico. They are part of […]

Puerto Rico map

Puerto Rico (USA)

AT A GLANCE Name: Puerto Rico means “rich port” in Spanish. Capital: San Juan Size: 3,515 sq. mi. (9,103 sq km) Population: 3,474,182(2015) Statehood: Unincorporated Electoral votes: 0 U.S. Representatives: 1 (nonvoting) THE PLACE Puerto Rico is an island about 1,000 miles (1,600 km) southeast of Florida, between the United States and South America. Puerto […]

Northern Mariana Islands map

Northern Mariana Islands (USA)

AT A GLANCE Nickname: America’s Best Kept Secret Capital: Saipan (38,896) Size: 184 sq. mi. (477 sq km) Population: 53,467 (2016) Statehood: Unincorporated Electoral votes: 0 U.S. Representatives: 1 (nonvoting) THE PLACE The Commonwealth of Northern Mariana Islands is a chain of 16 islands in the Pacific Ocean, south of Japan and east of the […]

Guam map

Guam (USA)

AT A GLANCE Capital: Hagatna (Agana) Size: 209 sq. mi. (541 sq km) Population: 162,742(2016) Government: Unincorporated territory of United States Electoral votes: 0 U.S. Representatives: 1 (nonvoting) THE PLACE Guam is located in the Pacific Ocean at the southern end of the Mariana Islands. It lies about 1,300 miles (2,100 km) east of the […]

American Samoa map

American Samoa (USA)

AT A GLANCE Name: Samoa is a native Polynesian word. Capital: Pago Pago Size: 77 sq. mi. (199 sq km) Population: 54,194 (2016) Statehood: Unincorporated Electoral Votes: 0 U.S. Representatives: 1 (nonvoting) THE PLACE American Samoa is a group of seven islands located about 2,600 miles (4,184 km) southwest of Hawaii. The U.S. federal government […]

District of Columbia

District of Columbia

AT A GLANCE Government: The District of Columbia has been the seat of the U.S. government since 1800, and a municipal corporation since February 21, 1871. Area: 68.25 sq. mi. (177 sq km) Population: 672,228 (2015) Electoral votes: 3 U.S. Representatives: 1 (nonvoting) THE PLACE The city of Washington covers the entire District of Columbia, […]

Wyoming map

The State of Wyoming

AT A GLANCE Name: Wyoming comes from an Algonquian phrase meaning “large prairie place” or “at the big plain.” Nicknames: Equality State, Cowboy State Capital: Cheyenne Size: 97,818 sq. mi. (253,349 sq km) Population: 586,107 (2015 estimate) Statehood: Wyoming became the 44th state on July 10, 1890. Electoral votes: 3 (2016) U.S. representatives: 1 (until […]

Wisconsin map

The State of Wisconsin

AT A GLANCE Name: Wisconsin is believed to be taken from one of three possible Indian words—Ouisconsin, Mesconsing, or Wishknosing. The words’ meanings are unclear. Nickname: Badger State Capital: Madison Size: 56,145 sq. mi. (145,414 sq km) Population: 5,771,337 (2015 est) Statehood: Wisconsin became the 30th state on May 29, 1848. Electoral votes: 10 (2016) […]

West Virginia map

The State of West Virginia

AT A GLANCE Name: West Virginia was once part of Virginia, which was named for England’s Queen Elizabeth I. She was known as the Virgin Queen because she never married. Nickname: Mountain State Capital: Charleston Size: 24,231 sq. mi. (62,759 sq km) Population: 1,844,128 (2015 est) Statehood: West Virginia became the 35th state on June […]

Washington map

The State of Washington

AT A GLANCE Name: Washington is named after President George Washington Nickname: Evergreen State Capital: Olympia Size: 68,126 sq. mi. (176,446 sq km) Population: 7,170,351 (2015 est) Statehood: Washington became the 42nd state on November 11, 1889. Electoral votes: 11 (2016) U.S. representatives: 9 (until 2016) State tree: western hemlock State flower: western rhododendron State […]

Virginia map

The State of Virginia

AT A GLANCE Name: Virginia was named for Queen Elizabeth I of England, who was known as the Virgin Queen because she never married. Nicknames: Old Dominion, Mother of Presidents Capital: Richmond Size: 40,598 sq. mi. (105,149 sq km) Population: 8,382,993 (2015 est) Statehood: Virginia became the 10th state on June 25, 1788. Electoral votes: […]

Vermont map

The State of Vermont

AT A GLANCE Name: Vermont is a combination of the French words vert and mont, which mean “green” and “mountain.” Nickname: Green Mountain State Capital: Montpelier Size: 9,615 sq. mi. (24,903 sq km) Population: 626,042 (2015 est) Statehood: Vermont became the 14th state on March 4, 1791. Electoral votes: 3 (2016) U.S. representatives: 1 (until […]

Utah map

The State of Utah

AT A GLANCE Name: Utah was named for the Ute tribe. Ute means “higher up.” Nickname: Beehive State Capital: Salt Lake City Size: 84,904 sq. mi. (219,902 sq km) Population: 2,995,919 (2015 est) Statehood: Utah became the 45th state on January 4, 1896. Electoral votes: 5 (2016) U.S. representatives: 3 (until 2016) State tree: blue […]

Texas map

The State of Texas

AT A GLANCE Name: Texas is a Spanish version of a Native American word meaning «friends» or «allies.» Nickname: Lone Star State Capital: Austin Size: 266,874 sq. mi. (691,201 sq km) Population: 27,469,114 (2015 est) Statehood: Texas became the 28th state on December 29, 1845. Electoral votes: 34 (2016) U.S. representatives: 30 (until 2016) State […]

Tennessee map

The State of Tennessee

AT A GLANCE Name: The region may have been named after Tanasie, a group of Cherokee villages on the Little Tennessee River. Nickname: Volunteer State Capital: Nashville Size: 42,146 sq. mi. (109,158 sq km) Population: 6,600,299 (2015 est) Statehood: Tennessee became the 16th state on June 1, 1796. Electoral votes: 11 (2016) U.S. representatives: 9 […]

South Dakota map

The State of South Dakota

AT A GLANCE Name: Dakota is a Sioux word meaning “friends” or “allies.” Nicknames: Coyote State, Mount Rushmore State Capital: Pierre Size: 77,121 sq. mi. (199744 sq km) Population: 858,469 (2015 est) Statehood: South Dakota became the 40th state on November 2, 1889. Electoral votes: 3 (2016) U.S. representatives: 1 (until 2016) State tree: Black […]

South Carolina map

The State of South Carolina

AT A GLANCE Name: South Carolina was named after King Charles I of England. Nickname: Palmetto State Capital: Columbia Size: 31,117 sq. mi. (80,593 sq km) Population: 4,896,146 (2015 est) Statehood: South Carolina became the eighth state on May 23, 1788. Electoral votes: 8 (2016) U.S. representatives: 6 (until 2016) State tree: palmetto State flower: […]

Rhode Island map

The State of Rhode Island

AT A GLANCE Name: Some historians believe that Rhode Island was named by a Dutch navigator who called it Roode Eylandt (“red island”) because of its red clay. Rhode Island may also have been named for the Greek Isle of Rhodes. Nicknames: Ocean State, Little Rhody Capital: Providence Size: 1,212 sq. mi. (3,142 sq km) […]

Pennsylvania map

The State of Pennsylvania

AT A GLANCE Name: Pennsylvania was named by King Charles II of England in honor of Admiral Sir William Penn, the father of William Penn, who governed the area. The name means “Penn’s woods.” Nickname: Keystone State Capital: Harrisburg Size: 45,310 sq. mi. (117,351 sq km) Population: 12,802,503 (2015 est) Statehood: Pennsylvania became the second […]

Oregon

The State of Oregon

AT A GLANCE Name: The exact origin of Oregon’s name is unknown, but it may have come from the Native American name for one of the area’s rivers—the Ouragon. Nickname: Beaver State Capital: Salem Size: 97,052 sq. mi. (251,365 sq km) Population: 4,028,977 (2015 est.) Statehood: Oregon became the 33rd state on February 14, 1859. […]

Oklahoma map

The State of Oklahoma

AT A GLANCE Name: Oklahoma comes from the Choctaw words okla humma, which mean “red people.” Nickname: Sooner State Capital: Oklahoma City Size: 69,903 sq. mi. (181,048 sq km) Population: 3,911,338 (2015 est) Statehood: Oklahoma became the 46th state on November 16, 1907. Electoral votes: 7 (2016) U.S. representatives: 6 (until 2016) State tree: redbud […]

11,613,423 (2015 est)

The State of Ohio

AT A GLANCE Name: Ohio is an Iroquois word for “fine or great river.” Nickname: Buckeye State Capital: Columbus Size: 41,330 sq. mi. (107,040 sq km) Population: 11,613,423 (2015 est) Statehood: Ohio became the 17th state on March 1, 1803. Electoral votes: 20 (2016) U.S. representatives: 19 (until 2016) State tree: buckeye State flower: scarlet […]

North Dakota map

The State of North Dakota

AT A GLANCE Name: Dakota is a Sioux word that means “friends” or “allies.” Nicknames: Sioux State, Flickertail State, Peace Garden State, Rough Rider State Capital: Bismarck Size: 70,704 sq. mi. (13,123 sq km) Population: 756,927 (2015 est) Statehood: North Dakota became the 39th state on November 2, 1889. Electoral votes: 3 (2016) U.S. representatives: […]

North Carolina map

The State of North Carolina

AT A GLANCE Name: North Carolina was named after King Charles I of England. (The Latin word for the name Charles is Carolana.) Nicknames: Tar Heel State, Old North State Capital: Raleigh Size: 52,672 sq. mi. (136,421 sq km) Population: 10,042,802 (2015 est) Statehood: North Carolina became the 12th state on November 21, 1789. Electoral […]

New York map

The State of New York

AT A GLANCE Name: New York was named in honor of England’s Duke of York. Nickname: Empire State Capital: Albany Size: 49,112 sq. mi. (127,200 sq km) Population: 19,795,791 (2015 est) Statehood: New York became the 11th state on July 26, 1788. Electoral votes: 31 (2016) U.S. representatives: 31 (beginning in 2016) State tree: sugar […]

New Mexico map

The State of New Mexico

AT A GLANCE Name: New Mexico was named after Mexico by Spanish explorers in the 16th century. Nickname: Land of Enchantment Capital: Santa Fe Size: 121,598 sq. mi. (314,939 sq km) Population: 2,085,109 (2015 est) Statehood: New Mexico became the 47th state on January 6, 1912. Electoral votes: 5 (2016) U.S. representatives: 3 (until 2016) […]

New Jersey map

The State of New Jersey

AT A GLANCE Name: New Jersey was named after Jersey, an island in the English Channel. Nickname: Garden State Capital: Trenton Size: 7,790 sq. mi. (20, 175 sq km) Population: 8,958,013 (2015 est) Statehood: New Jersey became the third state on December 18, 1787. Electoral votes: 15 (2016) U.S. representatives: 13 (until 2016) State tree: […]

New Hampshire map

The State of New Hampshire

AT A GLANCE Name: New Hampshire was named for the English county of Hampshire. Nickname: Granite State Capital: Concord Size: 9,283 sq. mi. (24,044 sq km) Population: 1,330,608 (2015 est) Statehood: New Hampshire became the ninth state on June 21, 1788. Electoral votes: 4 (2016) U.S. representatives: 2 (until 2016) State tree: white birch State […]

The State of Nevada

AT A GLANCE Name: Nevada means “snowcapped” in Spanish. Nicknames: Sagebrush State, Silver State Capital: Carson City Size: 110,567 sq. mi. (286,367 sq km) Population: 2,890,845 (2015 est) Statehood: Nevada became the 36th state on October 31, 1864. Electoral votes: 5 (2016) U.S. representatives: 3 State trees: single-leaf piñon and bristlecone pine State flower: sagebrush […]

Nebraska map

The State of Nebraska

AT A GLANCE Name: Nebraska is from the Oto Indian word nebrathka, meaning “flat water.” Nickname: Cornhusker State Capital: Lincoln Size: 77,358 sq. mi. (200,358 sq km) Population: 1,896,190 (2015 est) Statehood: Nebraska became the 37th state on March 1, 1867. Electoral votes: 5 (2016) U.S. representatives: 3 (until 2016) State tree: cottonwood State flower: […]

Montana map

The State of Montana

AT A GLANCE Name: Montana comes from the Spanish word montãna, which means “mountainous.” Nicknames: Treasure State, Big Sky Country Capital: Helena Size: 147,046 sq. mi. (380,849 sq km) Population: 1,032,949 (2015 est) Statehood: Montana became the 41st state on November 8, 1889. Electoral votes: 3 (2016) U.S. representatives: 1 (until 2016) State tree: ponderosa […]

Missouri map

The State of Missouri

AT A GLANCE Name: Missouri is the name of a Native American tribe and means “town with the big canoes.” Nickname: Show Me State Capital: Jefferson City Size: 69,709 sq. mi. (180,546 sq km) Population: 6,083,672 (2015 est.) Statehood: Missouri became the 24th state on August 10, 1821. Electoral votes: 11 (2016) U.S. representatives: 9 […]

Mississippi map

The State of Mississippi

AT A GLANCE Name: Mississippi comes from a Native American word that means “father of waters.” Nickname: Magnolia State Capital: Jackson Size: 47.695 sq. mi. (123,530 sq km) Population: 2,992,333 (2015 est) Statehood: Mississippi became the 20th state on December 10, 1817. Electoral votes: 6 (2016) State representatives: 5 (until 2016) State tree: magnolia State […]

Minnesota map

The State of Minnesota

AT A GLANCE Name: Minnesota is from Sioux words that mean “sky-tinted water.” Nicknames: North Star State, Gopher State Capital: St. Paul Size: 84,397 sq. mi. (218,587 sq km) Population: 5,489,594 (2015 est) Statehood: Minnesota became the 32nd state on May 11, 1858. Electoral votes: 10 (2016) U.S. representatives: 8 (until 2016) State tree: red […]

Michigan map

The State of Michigan

AT A GLANCE Name: Michigan comes from a Native American word that means “great or large lake.” Nicknames: Wolverine State, Great Lakes State Capital: Lansing Size: 58,513 sq. mi. (151,548 sq km) Population: 9,922,576 (2015 est) Statehood: Michigan became the 26th state on January 26, 1837. Electoral votes: 17 (2016) U.S. representatives: 16 (until 2016) […]

Massachusetts map

The State of Massachusetts

AT A GLANCE Name: Massachusetts was named for the Massachusett, a Native American tribe whose name means “at or about the great hill.” Nicknames: Bay State, Old Colony State Capital: Boston Size: 8,262 sq. mi. (21,398 sq km) Population: 6,794,422 (2015 est) Statehood: Massachusetts became the sixth state on February 6, 1788. Electoral votes: 12 […]

Maryland map

The State of Maryland

AT A GLANCE Name: Maryland was named in honor of Henrietta Maria, queen consort of King Charles I of England. Nicknames: Free State, Old Line State Capital: Annapolis Size: 12,297 sq. mi. (31,972 sq km) Population: 6,006,401 (2015 est) Statehood: Maryland became the seventh state on April 28, 1788. Electoral votes: 10 (2016) U.S. representatives: […]

Maine map

The State of Maine

AT A GLANCE Name: Maine probably comes from the word mainland. Early English explorers used the phrase “the main” to distinguish Maine from its offshore islands. Nickname: Pine Tree State Capital: Augusta Size: 33,265 sq. mi. (87,727 sq km) Population: 1,329,328 (2015 est) Statehood: Maine became the 23rd state on March 15, 1820. Electoral votes: […]

Louisiana map

The State of Louisiana

AT A GLANCE Name: Louisiana was named for King Louis XIV of France. Nickname: Pelican State Capital: Baton Rouge Size: 47,751 sq. mi. (124,153 sq km) Population: 4,670,724 (2015) Statehood: Louisiana became the 18th state on April 30, 1812. Electoral votes: 9 (2016) U.S. Representatives: 7 (until 2016) State tree: cypress State flower: magnolia State […]

Kentucky map

The State of Kentucky

AT A GLANCE Name: Kentucky is from the Iroquois word Ken-tah-ten, which means “land of tomorrow.” Nickname: Bluegrass State Capital: Frankfort Size: 40,411 sq. mi. (104,665 sq km) Population: 4,425,092 (2015 est) Statehood: Kentucky became the 15th state on June 1, 1792. Electoral votes: 8 (2016) U.S. Representatives: 6 (until 2016) State tree: tulip poplar […]

Kansas map

The State of Kansas

AT A GLANCE Name: Kansas is from a Sioux word meaning “people of the south wind.” Nickname: Sunflower State, Jayhawker State Capital: Topeka Size: 82,282 sq. mi. (213,110 sq km) Population: 2,911,641 (2015 est) Statehood: Kansas became the 34th state on January 29, 1861. Electoral votes: 6 (2016) U.S. Representatives: 4 (until 2016) State tree: […]

Iowa map

The State of Iowa

AT A GLANCE Name: Iowa is believed to have come from a Native American word meaning “this is the place” or “the beautiful land.” Nickname: Hawkeye State Capital: Des Moines Size: 56,276 sq. mi. (145,755 sq km) Population: 3,123,899 (2015 est) Statehood: Iowa became the 29th state on December 28, 1846. Electoral votes: 7 (2016) […]

Indiana map

The State of Indiana

AT A GLANCE Name: Indiana means “land of Indians.” Nickname: Hoosier State Capital: Indianapolis Size: 36,420 sq. mi. (94,328 sq km) Population: 6,619,680 (2015 est) Statehood: Indiana became the 19th state on December 11, 1816. Electoral votes: 11 (2016) U.S. Representatives: 10 (until 2016) State tree: tulip poplar State flower: peony State bird: cardinal Highest […]

Illinois map

The State of Illinois

AT A GLANCE Name: Illinois is an Algonquian word meaning “tribe of superior men.” Nickname: Prairie State Capital: Springfield Size: 57,918 sq. mi. (150,007 sq km) Population: 12,859,995 (2015 est) Statehood: Illinois became the 21st state on December 3, 1818. Electoral votes: 21 (2016) U.S. Representatives: 20 (until 2016) State tree: white oak State flower: […]

Idaho map

The State of Idaho

AT A GLANCE Name: The meaning of the name Idaho is unknown, although it is believed to be of Native American origin. Nickname: Gem State Capital: Boise Size: 83,574 sq. mi. (217,292 sq km) Population: 1,654,930 (2015 est) Statehood: Idaho became the 43rd state on July 3, 1890. Electoral votes: 4 (2016) U.S. Representatives: 2 […]

Hawaii map

The State of Hawaii

AT A GLANCE Name: The origin of the name Hawaii is uncertain. The islands may have been named after Hawaii Loa, the chief who has traditionally been believed to have discovered them, or they may have been named after Hawaii or Hawaiki, the traditional home of the Polynesians. Nickname: Aloha State Capital: Honolulu Size: 6,459 […]

The State of Georgia map

The State of Georgia

AT A GLANCE Name: Georgia was named for King George II of England. Nicknames: Peach State, Empire State of the South Capital: Atlanta Size: 58,977 sq. mi. Population: 10,214,860 (2015 est) Statehood: Georgia became the fourth state on January 2, 1788. Electoral votes: 15 (2016) U.S. Representatives: 11 (until 2016) State tree: live oak State […]

Florida map

The State of Florida

AT A GLANCE Name: Spanish explorer Ponce de León named Florida when he landed there on Easter Sunday in 1513. He called the place Pascua Florida, which means “flowery Easter” in Spanish. Nickname: Sunshine State Capital: Tallahassee Size: 59,928 sq. mi. Population: 20,271,272 (2015 est) Statehood: Florida became the 27th state on March 3, 1845. […]

Delaware

The State of Delaware

AT A GLANCE Name: The name Delaware comes from the Delaware River and Bay, which were named for Sir Thomas West, Baron De La Warr, the first governor of Virginia. Nicknames: First State, Diamond State Capital: Dover Size: 2,396 sq. mi. Population: 935 614 (2014) Statehood: Delaware became the first state on December 7, 1787. Electoral […]

The State of Connecticut

The State of Connecticut

AT A GLANCE Name: Connecticut comes from an Algonquian word meaning “place beside the long tidal river.” Nicknames: Constitution State, Nutmeg State Capital: Hartford Size: 5,544 sq. mi. Population: 3,597,000 (2014) Statehood: Connecticut became the fifth state on January 9, 1788. Electoral votes: 7 (2016) U.S. Representatives: 6 (until 2016) State tree: white oak State […]

The State of Colorado

The State of Colorado

AT A GLANCE Name: Colorado is a Spanish word that means “colored red.” The name was first given to the Colorado River by Spanish explorers because it flows through red stone canyons. Nickname: Centennial State Capital: Denver Size: 104,100 sq. mi. Population: 5,356,000 (2014) Statehood: Colorado became the 38th state on August 1, 1876. Electoral […]

The State of California

AT A GLANCE Name: California is named after Califia, a mythical island paradise described by Garci Ordonez de Montalvo in his 16th-century novel Las Sergas de Esplandian. Nickname: Golden State Capital: Sacramento Size: 158,869 sq. mi. Population: 39,144,818 (2015 est) Statehood: California became the 31st state on September 9, 1850. Electoral votes: 55 (2016) U.S. […]

Arkansas map

The State of Arkansas

AT A GLANCE Name: The word Arkansas is from the French name for the Quapaw tribe, the Arkansa, and the region the tribe inhabited. Nicknames: Natural State, Razorback State, Land of Opportunity Capital: Little Rock Size: 53,182 sq. mi. Population: 2,966,000 (2014) Statehood: Arkansas became the 25th state on June 15, 1836. Electoral votes: 6 […]

Arizona map

The State of Arizona

AT A GLANCE Name: Arizona comes from the Native American word Arizonac, which means “little spring” or “young spring.” Nickname: Grand Canyon State Capital: Phoenix Size: 114,006 sq. mi. Population: 6,731,000 (2014) Statehood: Arizona became the 48th state on February 14, 1912. Electoral votes: 11 (2016) U.S. Representatives: 9 (until 2003) State tree: paloverde State flower: saguaro […]

Alaska map

The State of Alaska

AT A GLANCE Name: Alaska comes from an Aleut word meaning “great land.” Nicknames: Last Frontier, Land of the Midnight Sun Capital: Juneau Size: 615,230 sq. mi. Population: 736 732 (2014) Statehood: Alaska became the 49th state on January 3, 1959. Electoral votes: 3 (2016) U.S. Representatives: 1 (until 2016) State tree: Sitka spruce State flower: forget-me-not State […]

map Alabama

The State of Alabama

AT A GLANCE Name: Alabama comes from the word Alibamu, the name of a Native American tribe that lived in the area. The name may mean “to clear the vegetation.” Nicknames: Heart of Dixie, Camellia State, Yellowhammer State Capital: Montgomery Size: 52,237 sq. mi. Population: 4,849,000 (2014) Statehood: Alabama became the 22nd state on December 14, 1819. Electoral […]

The United States Looks Ahead

Now is but a minute blip on the span of time. It is the product of countless past processes and events. By looking to the past, we can better understand the present, and the past also provides keys to predicting the future. This chapter attempts to answer a very difficult question: What does the future hold for the United […]

Living in the United States Today

For the majority of Americans, life is good. Few countries can match the level of health care, longevity, income, or educational attainment enjoyed by American citizens. The same can be said for the nation’s transportation and communications infrastructure, services, and many other developments that Americans often take for granted. In 2006, the United States ranked eighth among the world’s countries in […]

The United States’ Economy

With an annual gross national product (GNP) of about $13 trillion in 2006, the United States is the world’s largest and most powerful economy by a wide margin. By any measure, the country is an economic giant. In fact, it is responsible for about 30 percent of all of the world’s economic production and services! To place the country’s economic […]

Government and Politics

Epluribus unum is perhaps the best-­known motto of the United States of America. Translated from Latin, it means “From many, one,” or “Out of many, one.” In working to achieve this goal, the nation’s Founding Fathers and subsequent leaders faced a challenge of herculean dimensions. You have already learned that, from the very beginning, this land has been home to […]

People and Culture

These lines, part of a poem written by Emma Lazarus, appear on the Statue of Liberty. They offer a very appropriate introduction to this chapter on the American population. The United States has been and continues to be a grand human experiment conducted on a colossal scale. It has often been called a “country of immigrants,” people who arrived from […]

The United States Through Time

American historical geography offers an amazing trip through the corridors of time. It is a journey replete with mystery, adventure, and incredible good fortune. It also chronicles occasional obstacles, detours, and hardships. This chapter investigates the country’s past. Geographer Erhard Rostlund once observed that “the present is the fruit of the past and contains the seeds of the future.” Just as […]

Physical Geography

Nature has blessed and in some ways cursed the United States. No country on Earth can match America’s diverse physical conditions and the resulting natural landscapes. The United States holds the distinction of being the only country that has within its territory all of the world’s climates and ecosystems (a combination of climate, natural vegetation and animal life, soils, […]

Introducing the United States

Introducing the United States

These well-­known lyrics, written by Katharine Lee Bates, hold as true today as they did in 1893, when the original verses were penned. On a trip from her Massachusetts home to Colorado Springs, Colorado, Bates was awed by the magnificent view of the Great Plains from atop majestic Pikes Peak. The United States of America truly is a beautiful […]

Wyoming

Wyoming

Wyoming is one of the ROCKY MOUNTAIN states located in the west-central UNITED STATES. Rectangular in shape, it is bordered by MONTANA to the north, SOUTH DAKOTA and NEBRASKA to the east, COLORADO and UTAH to the south and IDAHO to the west. With an area of 97,818 square mi (253,348 square km), Wyoming ranks 10th nationally in size. With […]

Wisconsin

Wisconsin

Wisconsin lies on the western border of Lake MICHIGAN. Covering some 65,503 square mi (169,652 square km), the state ranks 23rd overall in size. With nearly half of the state’s 5,363,675 population (2000) living in five major urban areas, the state has a comfortable country feeling with approximately 44 people per square mi (114 per square km). Madison, the state capitol, […]

West Virginia

West Virginia

WITH ITS CAPITAL at Charleston, West Virginia occupies 24,181 square mi (62,629 square km). Its lowest point is the Potomac River at 210 ft (73m) near Harper’s Ferry. It’s highest point is Spruce Knob at 4,863 ft (1,483 m) and its primary natural resources are coal, natural gas, stone, salt, oil, and mineral springs. West Virginia (population 1,808,344) is known as the […]

Washington

Washington

THE STATE OF WASHINGTON in the northwest UNITED STATES has an area of 71,303 square mi (184,674 square km) and a population of 5,894,121 (2000). Bordered by OREGON to the south and CANADA to the north, Washington State boasts a dramatic range of geographic diversity, including dense forests, mountain ranges, an ocean coast, and arid farmland. The capital is Olympia and the […]

Virginia

Virginia

NAMED FOR QUEEN Elizabeth I of England who was known as the Virgin Queen, the Commonwealth of Virginia is officially known as The Old Dominion State. The state is also frequently referred to as the “Mother of Presidents” because eight presidents were born in the state, including George Washington and Thomas Jefferson. Jamestown, on the banks of the James River, was one […]

Vermont

Vermont

BOUNDED BY THE Canadian province of Québec to the north, MASSACHUSETTS to the south, NEW HAMPSHIRE to the east, and NEW YORK to the west, Vermont covers an area of 9,609 square mi (24,887 square km) and is located in the westernmost portion of the New England region of the UNITED STATES. Its highest point, Mt. Mansfield, reaches an elevation of […]

Utah

Utah

THE BEEHIVE STATE, covering an area of 84,990 square mi (220,124 square km), is located in the southwest United States and features a dry, mountainous topography. Utah is rectangular in shape, except for a small corner cut away in the northeastern portion of the state. The state is bounded to the north by IDAHO and WYOMING, to the east by COLORADO, […]

Texas

Texas

TEXAS IS A SOUTHWESTERN state of the UNITED STATES, bordering LOUISIANA, OKLAHOMA, and NEW MEXICO. MEXICO lies across the RIO GRANDE to the south. Texas also has a 350-mi (560-km) coastline along the Gulf of Mexico. Texas now ranks second among the states in both area and population. With a total area of 268,581 square mi (695,622 square km), Texas is […]

Tennessee

Tennessee

NAMED BY THE Cherokee Native Americans, the U.S. state of Tennessee, which is officially known as the Volunteer State, is celebrated throughout the world as the home of American country music. Tennessee is bounded on the north by KENTUCKY and VIRGINIA, on the south by GEORGIA, ALABAMA, and MISSISSIPPI, on the east by NORTH CAROLINA, and on the west by ARKANSAS and […]

South Dakota

South Dakota

SOUTH DAKOTA, IN THE American Midwest, is the 17th largest state at 77,121 square mi (199,742 square km), but is small in population (just 754,844 people ranking it as 46th largest in population). Accordingly, South Dakota is a very sparsely populated state, with just under 10 people per square mile. The landscape of South Dakota varies from mainly rolling hills and […]

South Carolina

South Carolina

KNOWN AS THE Palmetto State, South Carolina was named for Kings Charles I and Charles II of England. This small state, which was one of the 13 original colonies, covers an area that extends from the ATLANTIC OCEAN to the APPALACHIAN MOUNTAINS. South Carolina is bounded on the north by NORTH CAROLINA, on the east and southeast by the Atlantic Ocean, […]

Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania

THE COMMONWEALTH OF Pennsylvania, also known as the Keystone State, is located in the northeastern UNITED STATES. With a total area of 46,058 square mi (119,290 square km), Pennsylvania extends 307 mi (494 km) from east to west and 175 mi (282 km) north to south. It is bordered by NEW YORK and Lake ERIE […]

Oregon

OREGON IS A STATE located on the west coast of the UNITED STATES and has a landscape for just about everyone: mountains; FORESTS; plains; DESERTS; the Columbia River Gorge; waterfalls such as Multnomah Falls (620 ft or 189 m), the tallest in Oregon and the fourthtallest in the country; Mills End Park, the smallest park […]

Oklahoma

LOCATED MIDWAY BETWEEN the east and west coasts of the UNITED STATES and just south of the geographic center of the United States in KANSAS, Oklahoma is one of the Great Plains states. The name comes from the Native American Choctaw language as okla meaning “people,” and humma meaning “red.” Despite images to the contrary, […]

Ohio

OHIO IS A MIDWESTERN state in the Great Lakes region of the UNITED STATES. Interestingly, when the first settlers were arriving, the area was considered to be America’s great northwest. In the northeast, Ohio is bordered by PENNSYLVANIA from Lake ERIE southward to the Ohio River near East Liverpool. The Ohio River forms a natural […]

North Dakota

NORTH DAKOTA, THE Flickertail State, is a land of endless fields of corn, sunflowers, wheat, and buffalo. The state has a small population but is rich in natural resources. Located in the north central UNITED STATES, North Dakota was named after the Sioux Indians who called themselves the Dakota. Rural depopulation is a serious problem […]

North Carolina

KNOWN AS BOTH the Tar Heel State and Old North State, North Carolina was part of colonial America. Like its sister state SOUTH CAROLINA, North Carolina was named for Kings Charles I and Charles II of England. North Carolina is bounded on the north by VIRGINIA, on the south by South Carolina and GEORGIA, on […]

New York

NEW YORK—OFTEN called New York State to distinguish it from NEW YORK CITY—is a northeastern state of the UNITED STATES, bordering VERMONT, MASSACHUSETTS, and CONNECTICUT to the east; PENNSYLVANIA and NEW JERSEY to the south; and the Canadian provinces of Ontario and Quebec to the north. Lakes ERIE and ONTARIO form the greater part of […]

New Jersey

THE STATE OF New Jersey, located on the east coast of the UNITED STATES between NEW YORK, PENNSYLVANIA, and DELAWARE, is home to hundreds of flora and fauna. The landscape of the state is comprised of pine forests and flatlands in the interior, swampy meadowlands in the north and the dry Pinelands in central and […]

New Hampshire

LOCATED IN THE northeastern UNITED STATES, the state of New Hampshire has a total area of 9,304 square mi (23,380 square km) of land and 277 square mi (23,3380 square km) of inland water, with its geographic center lying in Belknap County, 3 mi (5 km) east of the town of Ashland. New Hampshire is […]

Nevada

KNOWN AS THE Silver State, the Battle-Born State, or the Sagebrush State, the mountain state of Nevada was admitted to the Union in 1864 as the 36th state. Covering an area of 110,540 square mi (286,297 square km), Nevada is 485 mi (780 km) north to south and 315 mi (507 km) east to west, […]

Nebraska

KNOWN AS THE Cornhusker State, the west northcentral state of Nebraska was named from a Native American word meaning “flat or broad water.” It lies within the Missouri River basin; the western part of the state also lies within the Platte River basin. Nebraska covers an area of 77,354 square mi (200,346 square km), making […]

Montana

AS THE TREASURE STATE, Montana is known for its mountains and extensive natural resources, such as copper, silver, gold, coal, lead, zinc, oil, limestone, antimony, phosphates, and gypsum. This mountain state encompasses 147,046 square mi (380,821 square km) of land area; Montana is the fourth largest state in the UNITED STATES, but it is 44th […]

Missouri

IN THE MIDWESTERN UNITED STATES, Missouri is the 19th state in terms of size of all the states. Its name is derived from a Native American word for “town of large canoes.” Missouri covers an area of 69,686 square mi (180,487 square km). A LANDLOCKED STATE, inland waters cover an area of 691 square mi […]

Mississippi

KNOWN AS THE Magnolia State, Mississippi is bordered on the north by TENNESSEE, on the south by LOUISIANA and the Gulf of Mexico, on the east by ALABAMA, and on the west by lOUISIANA and ARKANSAS. The MISSISSIPPI RIVER, which flows along most of the western boundary of the state, is the origin of the […]

Minnesota

WITH THE EXCEPTION of ALASKA, Minnesota is the northernmost U.S. state, on account of the notch in its northern border, where Lake of the Woods abuts CANADA. Long known as the “Land of 10,000 Lakes,” the state is also known for its progressive society, common Scandinavian heritage, sturdy agriculture, advanced technology, and outdoor tourism. Minnesota […]

Michigan

IN THE NORTH-CENTRAL UNITED STATES, Michigan is known as the Wolverine State. Michigan entered the Union in 1837 as the 26th state, measuring 490 mi (788 km) north to south and 240 mi (386 km) east to west. The total area of Michigan is 96,716 square mi (250,493 square km), making Michigan the 11thlargest state. Michigan ranks 8th in population. Bordering on […]

Massachusetts

THE COMMONWEALTH of Massachusetts has a population of 6,379,304 (2001), more than half of whom live in the greater Boston metropolitan area. The largest city in the state is Boston (the capital), with a population of 589,141, and the smallest town is Gosnold, with a population of 86. It borders NEW HAMPSHIRE and VERMONT to […]

Maryland

“THE OLD LINE STATE,” covering an area of 12,407 square mi (32,134 square km) is located in the mid-Atlantic UNITED STATES and features a diverse geography, prompting the nickname “a miniature America.” Maryland is one of the more irregularly shaped states, with a long straight northern border and an irregular southern border that is delineated […]