50 or 52 States Make Up the United States – How many states are there in the United States? Young students across the country are taught the number of states in the United States (USA). While many Americans are aware that there are 50 states, others continue to question whether there are actually 52. So, where does this confusion originate?
In addition to its 50 states, the United States administers 14 territories, including a federal district and several island nations.
While Delaware, the first state, was established in 1787, Hawai’i became the “newest” state in 1959. 48 of the fifty states are considered “contiguous,” which simply means that they are touching or connected. Alaska, which borders Canada, and Hawai’i, a chain of islands in the Pacific Ocean, are the only non-contiguous states as of the present.
Nonetheless, why do individuals believe there are 52 United States of America? Most frequently, this error is the result of counting Puerto Rico and Washington, D.C., also known as the District of Columbia, incorrectly.
Read more: How Many Cups Does 6 Ounces Equal?
Washington, District of Columbia
The District of Columbia is neither considered to be a state nor a territory. It is a federal district and the location of the nation’s capital, Washington, D.C. According to Merriam-Webster, a federal district is “a district designated as the seat of a federation’s central government.” The District of Columbia has its own council and mayor, but Congress has jurisdiction over it. Recently, momentum has been gaining for D.C. to attain statehood.
The island of Puerto Rico
Puerto Rico is frequently mistaken for a state, but it is actually a territory. Nearly 4 million people live on Puerto Rico’s main island, which is located in the Caribbean Sea, while many more reside on the territory’s smaller islands, which include Culebra, Mona, and Vieques. Even though Puerto Rico is a territory, its citizens are American. Similar to Washington, D.C., some individuals desire statehood for Puerto Rico, while others fight for its independence.
Additional US Territories
In addition to Puerto Rico, the United States administers 14 territories. Several of these territories are inhabited, including Puerto Rico, Guam, the U.S. Virgin Islands, the Northern Mariana Islands, and American Samoa. Additionally, Midway Atoll and Palmyra Atoll are inhabited, but with populations of fewer than 100 individuals. Baker Island, Howland Island, Jarvis Island, Johnston Atoll, Kingman Reef, Wake Island, and Navassa Island are the other uninhabited territories. The Pacific Ocean is home to the majority of these territories.
Other Important Facts About the United States
Between 1797 and 1790, officials ratified thirteen states. These states include Delaware, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Georgia, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Maryland, South Carolina, New Hampshire, Virginia, New York, North Carolina, and Rhode Island, and are known as the original 13 colonies.
Four of the fifty states include “Commonwealth” in their official names, alluding to the English term for a political community founded for the common good. Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and Kentucky are these four states.
There were 172 years between the establishment of the first state in the United States and the addition of the last state.
In 1959, Alaska and Hawaii became the last two states to join the union.
Prior to 1959, New Mexico and Arizona were the most recent states to join the union, in 1912.