List of U.S. state and territory abbreviations

Several sets of codes and abbreviations are used to represent the political divisions of the United States for postal addresses, data processing, general abbreviations, and other purposes.


This table includes abbreviations for three independent countries related to the United States through Compacts of Free Association, and other comparable postal abbreviations, including those now obsolete.

Codes and abbreviations for U.S. states, federal district, territories, and other regions
    ISOISO 3166 codes (2-letter, 3-letter, and 3-digit codes from ISO 3166-1; 2+2-letter codes from ISO 3166-2)
    ANSI2-letter and 2-digit codes from the ANSI standard INCITS 38:2009 (supersedes FIPS 5-2)
    USPS2-letter codes used by the United States Postal Service
    USCG2-letter codes used by the United States Coast Guard (bold red text shows differences between ANSI and USCG)
    GPOOlder variable-length official US Government Printing Office abbreviations
    APAbbreviations from the AP Stylebook (bold red text shows differences between GPO and AP)
Name and status of regionISOANSIUSPSUSCGGPOAPOther
 United States of AmericaFederal stateUS
 District of ColumbiaFederal districtUS-DCDC11DCDCD.C.D.C.Dis. Col.[2]
 KentuckyStateUS-KYKY21KYKYKy.Ky.Ken., Kent.[b]
 MarylandStateUS-MDMD24MDMDMd.Md.Mar., Mary.
 New HampshireStateUS-NHNH33NHNHN.H.N.H.
 New JerseyStateUS-NJNJ34NJNJN.J.N.J.N. Jersey[2]
 New MexicoStateUS-NMNM35NMNMN. Mex.N.M.New M., New Mex.
 New YorkStateUS-NYNY36NYNYN.Y.N.Y.N. York[2]
 North CarolinaStateUS-NCNC37NCNCN.C.N.C.N. Car.
 North DakotaStateUS-NDND38NDNDN. Dak.N.D.
 OhioStateUS-OHOH39OHOHOhioOhioO.,[3] Oh.[1]
 PennsylvaniaStateUS-PAPA42PAPAPa.Pa.Penn.,[1] Penna.[4]
 Rhode IslandStateUS-RIRI44RIRIR.I.R.I.R.I. & P.P.
 South CarolinaStateUS-SCSC45SCSCS.C.S.C.S. Car.
 South DakotaStateUS-SDSD46SDSDS. Dak.S.D.SoDak
 West VirginiaStateUS-WVWV54WVWVW. Va.W.Va.W.V., W. Virg.
 American SamoaInsular area (Territory)AS
 GuamInsular area (Territory)GU
 Northern Mariana IslandsInsular area (Commonwealth)MP
 Puerto RicoInsular area (Commonwealth)PR
 U.S. Virgin IslandsInsular area (Territory)VI
 U.S. Minor Outlying IslandsInsular areasUM
    Baker IslandIslandUM-8181XB[8]
    Howland IslandIslandUM-8484XH[8]
    Jarvis IslandIslandUM-8686XQ[8]
    Johnston AtollAtollUM-6767XU[8]
    Kingman ReefAtollUM-8989XM[8]
    Midway IslandsAtollUM-7171QM[8]
    Navassa IslandIslandUM-7676XV[8]
    Palmyra Atoll[c]Atoll[c]UM-9595XL[8]
    Wake IslandAtollUM-7979QW[8]
 Marshall IslandsFreely associated stateMH
 MicronesiaFreely associated stateFM
 PalauFreely associated statePW
U.S. Armed ForcesAmericas[d]US military mail codeAA
U.S. Armed Forces – Europe[e]US military mail codeAE
U.S. Armed Forces – Pacific[f]US military mail codeAP
 NebraskaObsolete postal code[g]NB
 Northern Mariana IslandsObsolete postal code[h]CM
Panama Canal ZonePanama Canal ZoneObsolete postal codePZ
Commonwealth of the PhilippinesPhilippine IslandsObsolete postal codePH
Trust Territory of the Pacific IslandsTrust Territory of the Pacific IslandsObsolete postal codePC


As early as October 1831, the United States Post Office recognized common abbreviations for states and territories. However, they accepted these abbreviations only because of their popularity, preferring that patrons spell names out in full to avoid confusion.[3]

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.[10]

Modern two-letter abbreviated codes for the states and territories originated in October 1963, with the issuance of Publication 59: Abbreviations for Use with ZIP Code, three months after the Post Office introduced ZIP codes in July 1963. The purpose, rather than to standardize state abbreviations per se, was to make room in a line of no more than 23 characters for the city, the state, and the ZIP code.[3]

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.[3]

The two-letter postal abbreviation system is complicated by the fact that several state names begin with the same letter (e.g., eight state names begin with M and eight begin with N, four "New" and two "North"). To avoid duplications, some abbreviations are not intuitive.

Prior to 1987, when the U.S. Secretary of Commerce approved the two-letter codes for use in government documents,[11] 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.[12]

Current use of traditional abbreviations

Legal citation manuals, such as The Bluebook and The ALWD Citation Manual, typically use the "traditional abbreviations" or variants thereof.

Codes for states and territories

ISO standard 3166

ANSI standard INCITS 38:2009

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

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 (USPS) has established a set of uppercase abbreviations to help process mail with optical character recognition and other automated equipment.[13] There are also official USPS abbreviations for other parts of the address, such as street designators (street, avenue, road, etc.).

These two-letter codes 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.[14] However, the Chicago Manual of Style now recommends use of the uppercase two-letter abbreviations, with the traditional forms as an option.[15]

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.[3] Canada likewise chose MB for Manitoba to prevent conflict with either Massachusetts (MA), Michigan (MI), Minnesota (MN), Missouri (MO), or Montana (MT).

Coast Guard vessel prefixes

The U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) uses a set of two-letter prefixes for vessel numbers;[16] 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 bold red in the table above. These twelve abbreviations were changed to avoid conflicting with the ISO 3166 two-digit country codes.

Mismatches between USPS and USCG codes
CaliforniaColoradoDelawareHawaiiKansasMichiganMississippiMassachusettsNebraskaWashingtonWisconsinMariana Islands

See also


  1. ^ "Ioa." or (more typically) "IOA" found in Iowa post office cancellations from the 1870s.
  2. ^ Not to be confused with Kent, England
  3. ^ a b The Palmyra Atoll is an unorganized incorporated territory of the United States that was previously a part of the Territory of Hawaii.
  4. ^ The U.S. Armed Forces – Americas include the Caribbean Sea and exclude the United States, Canada, and Greenland.
  5. ^ The U.S. Armed Forces – Europe include the Atlantic Ocean, the Mediterranean Sea, Canada, Greenland, Africa, and Southwest Asia.
  6. ^ The U.S. Armed Forces – Pacific include the Indian Ocean, Oceania, and Asia except Southwest Asia.
  7. ^ Former USPS code "NB" for Nebraska is now obsolete; it was changed to NE in November 1969 to avoid confusion with New Brunswick, Canada.
  8. ^ 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.


  1. ^ a b c d e f g Consolidated Listing of FAA Certificated Repair Stations. U.S. Dept. of Transportation. December 9, 1970. Retrieved March 12, 2020.
  2. ^ a b c Register of the Commissioned and Warrant Officers of the Navy of the United States. Washington, D.C.: [U.S.] Government Printing Office. January 1, 1863. Retrieved March 12, 2020.
  3. ^ a b c d e USPS Postal History: State Abbreviations Accessed November 7, 2011.
  4. ^ Arthur, Andy. "Penna. the Abbreviation". Retrieved February 15, 2021.
  5. ^ Fisher, Richard S. (1857). A new and complete statistical gazetteer of the United States of America. J. H. Colton and Company. Retrieved March 12, 2020.
  6. ^ "search on WN". Retrieved February 26, 2018.
  7. ^ "Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands". Retrieved January 7, 2018.
  8. ^ a b c d e f g h i "Geopolitical Entities, Names, and Codes Standard". NSG Standards Registry. Retrieved February 6, 2017.
  9. ^ "Philippine diplomats will now use PH or PHL instead of RP". GMA News. October 28, 2010. Retrieved March 17, 2013.
  10. ^ "USPS Postal News, "It's Okay to Say 'I Don't Know,' So Long As You Find Out!" January 9, 2009". January 9, 2009. Retrieved February 26, 2018.
  11. ^ Hawes, Kristi G. (May 28, 1987). "Information Technology Laboratory". NIST. Archived from the original on July 5, 2009. Retrieved April 21, 2009.
  12. ^ U.S. Government Printing Office Style Manual, 30th Edition [1] Accessed April 21, 2009.
  13. ^ United States Postal Service (June 2020). "Appendix B. Two–Letter State and Possession Abbreviations. Postal Addressing Standards". Postal Explorer. Retrieved January 21, 2020.
  14. ^ Robbins, Sonia J. (January 4, 2004). "State Abbreviations". New York University. Archived from the original on April 24, 2009.
  15. ^ Harper, Russell David, ed. (2017) [1906]. "10.27 Abbreviations for US states and territories". The Chicago manual of style (17th ed.). The University of Chicago Press. doi:10.7208/cmos17. ISBN 9780226287058. LCCN 2017020712. In bibliographies, tabular matter, lists, and mailing addresses, they are usually abbreviated. In all such contexts, Chicago prefers the two-letter postal codes to the conventional abbreviations.
  16. ^ 33 CFR 173, App. A

External links

Media files used on this page

Flag of California.svg
Flag of California. This version is designed to accurately depict the standard print of the bear as well as adhere to the official flag code regarding the size, position and proportion of the bear, the colors of the flag, and the position and size of the star.
Flag of Oklahoma.svg
Flag of Oklahoma, adopted in November 2006.
Flag of Oregon.svg
Flag of Oregon (obverse): The flag was adopted by the state on February 26, 1925.[1] The state seal was decided in 1903.[2][3]
Flag of Guam.svg
The flag of Guam, courtesy an e-mail from the author of xrmap. Modifications by Denelson83.
US state abbrev map.png
Author/Creator: unknown, Licence: CC-BY-SA-3.0
Flag of Alaska.svg
Author/Creator: unknown, Licence: CC0
Flag of Alaska
Flag of the State of Utah.svg
Author/Creator: This vector image was made by Ali Zifan, Licence: CC BY-SA 3.0
Flag of Utah (enhanced variant).
Flag of Panama Canal Zone.svg
Flag of the Panama Canal Zone from 1915-1979
Flag of the Northern Mariana Islands.svg
Author/Creator: unknown, Licence: CC0
Flag of the Philippines (1946-1998).svg
Flag of the Philippines in the previous official shade of Cable No. 70077 or National Flag Blue. In use for 60 years, 8 months and 18 days from March 25, 1936, to February 25, 1985 and from February 25, 1986, to February 12, 1998.

Construction sheet approved by the Philippine Heraldry Committee on January 24, 1955.

The exact colors adopted by the Philippine Heraldry Committee in 1955 was as follows:

The red color bearing Cable No. 70180; the blue color, Cable No. 70077; the yellow color, Cable No. 70068; and the white color, Cable No. 70001.
Flag of Mississippi.svg
Author/Creator: Rocky Vaughn, Sue Anna Joe, Dominique Pugh, Clay Moss, Kara Giles, and the Mississippi Department of Archives and History, Licence: Copyrighted free use
The state flag of Mississippi, created in 2020 and adopted in 2021. Known as the "New Magnolia", it was the final design selected by the Commission to Redesign the Mississippi State Flag in 2020.
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The flag of the U.S. state of Ohio, officially known as the "Ohio Burgee"
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Flag of the State of Nevada. The flag is described in Nevada Revised Statutes Chapter 235, Sec. 20 as follows: The body of the flag must be of solid cobalt blue. On the field in the upper left quarter thereof must be two sprays of Sagebrush with the stems crossed at the bottom to form a half wreath. Within the sprays must be a five-pointed silver star with one point up. The word “Nevada” must also be inscribed below the star and above the sprays, in a semicircular pattern with the letters spaced apart in equal increments, in the same style of letters as the words “Battle Born.” Above the wreath, and touching the tips thereof, must be a scroll bearing the words “Battle Born.” The scroll and the word “Nevada” must be golden-yellow. The lettering on the scroll must be black-colored sans serif gothic capital letters.