List of U.S. state abbreviations

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The following is a sortable table of various codes and abbreviations used to represent the political divisions of the United States. These codes and abbreviations are used for postal addresses, data processing, general abbreviations, civil registrations for watercraft used for pleasure boating, and other purposes. The table also 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.


Table listing U.S. state abbreviations
Legend for abbreviations of table columns

The 5-letter ISO codes, The 5-letter ISO codes, The 2+2-character ISO codes are from ISO standard 3166-1 or 3166-2.[1]
The 2-letter ANSI codes are from ANSI standard INCITS 38:2009
The 2-letter USPS codes are used by the United States Postal Service
The 2-letter USCG codes are used by the United States Coast Guard
Official, older, variable length US Government abbreviations
The AP abbreviations are from the AP Stylebook
NameStatusISO[1]ANSI[2]ANSI[3]USPS[4]USCG[5]Old GPOAP[6]Other
United StatesFederal stateUS
CaliforniaStateUS-CACA06CACFCalif.Calif.Ca., Cal.
District of ColumbiaFederal districtUS-DCDC11DCDCD.C.D.C.Wash. D.C.
FloridaStateUS-FLFL12FLFLFla.Fla.Fl., Flor.
IdahoStateUS-IDID16IDIDIdahoIdahoId., Ida.
IllinoisStateUS-ILIL17ILILIll.Ill.Il., Ills., Ill's
IowaStateUS-IAIA19IAIAIowaIowaIa., Ioa.[7]
KansasStateUS-KSKS20KSKAKans.Kan.Ks., Ka.
KentuckyState (Commonwealth)US-KYKY21KYKYKy.Ky.Ken., Kent.
MassachusettsState (Commonwealth)US-MAMA25MAMSMass.Mass.
New HampshireStateUS-NHNH33NHNHN.H.N.H.
New JerseyStateUS-NJNJ34NJNJN.J.N.J.
New MexicoStateUS-NMNM35NMNMN. Mex.N.M.New M.
New YorkStateUS-NYNY36NYNYN.Y.N.Y.N. York
North CarolinaStateUS-NCNC37NCNCN.C.N.C.N. Car.
North DakotaStateUS-NDND38NDNDN. Dak.N.D.NoDak
OhioStateUS-OHOH39OHOHOhioOhioO., Oh.
PennsylvaniaState (Commonwealth)US-PAPA42PAPAPa.Pa.Penn., Penna.
Rhode IslandStateUS-RIRI44RIRIR.I.R.I.R.I. & P.P., R. Isl.
South CarolinaStateUS-SCSC45SCSCS.C.S.C.S. Car.
South DakotaStateUS-SDSD46SDSDS. Dak.S.D.SoDak
VirginiaState (Commonwealth)US-VAVA51VAVAVa.Va.Virg.
WashingtonStateUS-WAWA53WAWNWash.Wash.Wa., Wn.[8]
West VirginiaStateUS-WVWV54WVWVW. Va.W.Va.W.V., W. Virg.
WisconsinStateUS-WIWI55WIWSWis.Wis.Wi., Wisc.
American SamoaInsular area (Territory)AS
GuamInsular area (Territory)GU
Northern Mariana IslandsInsular area (Commonwealth)MP
Puerto RicoInsular area (Commonwealth)PR
Virgin IslandsInsular area (Territory)VI
U.S. Minor Outlying IslandsInsular areasUM
   Baker Island   islandUM-8181
   Howland Island   islandUM-8484
   Jarvis Island   islandUM-8686
   Johnston Atoll   atollUM-6767
   Kingman Reef   atollUM-8989
   Midway Islands   atollUM-7171
   Navassa Island   islandUM-7676
   Palmyra Atoll[9]   atoll[9]UM-9595
   Wake Island   atollUM-7979
Federated States of MicronesiaFreely associated stateFM
Marshall IslandsFreely associated stateMH
PalauFreely associated statePW
U.S. Armed ForcesAmericas[10]US military mail codeAA
U.S. Armed Forces – Europe[11]US military mail codeAE
U.S. Armed Forces – Pacific[12]US military mail codeAP
Northern Mariana IslandsObsolete postal code[13]CM
Panama Canal ZoneObsolete postal codeCZ
NebraskaObsolete postal code[14]NB
Philippine IslandsObsolete postal codePH
Trust Territory of the Pacific IslandsObsolete postal codeTT


As early as October 1874, 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.[16]

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.[17]

Modern two-letter abbreviated codes for the states and territories originated when the Post Office introduced ZIP codes in 1963. The purpose was to make room for ZIP codes in the address, rather than to standardize state abbreviations per se.[16]

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.[16]

The two-letter postal abbreviation system is complicated by the fact that eight state names begin with M and to avoid duplication, some abbreviations (most notably, Missouri's) are not intuitive.

Prior to 1987, when the U.S. Secretary of Commerce approved the two-letter codes for use in government documents,[18] 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.[19]

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 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" as well.

Codes for states and territories[edit]

ISO standard 3166[edit]

Main article: ISO 3166-2:US

ANSI standard INCITS 38:2009[edit]

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[edit]

WashingtonOregonCaliforniaHawaiiAlaskaIdahoVermontNew HampshireMassachusettsRhode IslandConnecticutNew JerseyDelawareMarylandD.C.MontanaNorth DakotaSouth DakotaNevadaUtahArizonaWyomingColoradoNew MexicoNebraskaKansasOklahomaTexasMinnesotaIowaMissouriArkansasLouisianaMichiganWisconsinIllinoisIndianaOhioWest VirginiaKentuckyTennesseeMississippiAlabamaGeorgiaFloridaSouth CarolinaNorth CarolinaVirginiaMarylandMarylandDistrict of ColumbiaDelawareNew YorkPennsylvaniaNew JerseyConnecticutRhode IslandMassachusettsNew HampshireVermontMaineUS state abbrev map.png
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.[20] 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.[21] However, the Chicago Manual of Style now recommends use of the uppercase two-letter abbreviations, with the traditional forms as an option.[22]

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.[16] Canada likewise chose MB for Manitoba to prevent conflict with various U.S. states.

Coast Guard vessel prefixes[edit]

The U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) uses a set of two-letter prefixes for vessel numbers;[23] 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

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b The 2-letter ISO codes are from ISO standard 3166-1 alpha-2. The 3-letter ISO codes are from ISO standard 3166-1 alpha-3. The 2+2-character ISO codes are from ISO standard 3166-2.
  2. ^ The 2-letter ANSI codes are from ANSI standard INCITS 38:2009.
  3. ^ The 2-digit ANSI codes are from ANSI standard INCITS 38:2009.
  4. ^ The 2-letter USPS codes are used by the United States Postal Service.
  5. ^ The 2-letter USCG codes are used by the United States Coast Guard.
  6. ^ The AP abbreviations are from the AP Stylebook
  7. ^ "Ioa." or (more typically) "IOA" found in Iowa post office cancellations from the 1870s.
  8. ^ search on WN
  9. ^ a b The Palmyra Atoll is an unorganized incorporated territory of the United States that was previously a part of the Territory of Hawaii.
  10. ^ The U.S. Armed Forces – Americas include the Caribbean Sea and exclude the United States, Canada, and Greenland.
  11. ^ The U.S. Armed Forces – Europe include the Atlantic Ocean, the Mediterranean Sea, Canada, Greenland, Africa, and Southwest Asia.
  12. ^ The U.S. Armed Forces – Pacific include the Indian Ocean, Oceania, and Asia except Southwest Asia.
  13. ^ 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.
  14. ^ Former USPS code "NB" for Nebraska is now obsolete; it was changed to NE in November 1969 to avoid confusion with New Brunswick, Canada.
  15. ^ "Philippine diplomats will now use PH or PHL instead of RP". GMA News. 28 October 2010. Retrieved 17 March 2013. 
  16. ^ a b c d USPS Postal History: State Abbreviations Accessed November 7, 2011.
  17. ^ USPS Postal News, "It's Okay to Say 'I Don’t Know,' So Long As You Find Out!" January 9, 2009 [1]
  18. ^ Federal Information Processing Standards Publication 5-2, May 28, 1987 [2] Accessed April 21, 2009.
  19. ^ U.S. Government Printing Office Style Manual, 30th Edition [3] Accessed April 21, 2009.
  20. ^ United States Postal Service Publication 28 - Postal Addressing Standards. Accessed February 4, 2007.
  21. ^ State Abbreviations
  22. ^ Major Rule Changes in The Chicago Manual of Style, Fifteenth Edition Accessed May 23, 2009
  23. ^ 33 C.F.R. 173, App. A

External links[edit]