Size of US States by Area

January 10, 2024

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map of US states

With a land area of more than 3.5 million square miles, the United States is the third-largest country in the world and makes up 40 percent of the continent of North America. The country is divided into 50 states, 48 of which are part of the contiguous United States. The other two are Alaska, which occupies North America’s northwest, and Hawaii, located in the Pacific Ocean, about 2,000 miles from the mainland.

But what is the biggest state in the US? And what is the land area of each US state? Keep reading to find out. 

US states ranked by area

Here are the US states from largest to smallest, according to the number of square miles they cover:

RankFlagStateTotal area (square miles)Total area (km²)
Alaska state flag
Texas state flag
California state flag
Montana state flag
New Mexico state flag
New Mexico121,590.30314,917
Arizona state flag
Nevada state flag
Colorado state flag
Oregon state flag
Wyoming state flag
Michigan state flag
Minnesota state flag
Utah state flag
Idaho state flag
Kansas state flag
Nebraska state flag
South Dakota state flag
South Dakota77,115.68199,729
Washington state flag
North Dakota state flag
North Dakota70,698.32183,108
Oklahoma state flag
Missouri state flag
Florida state flag
Wisconsin state flag
Georgia state flag
Illinois state flag
Iowa state flag
New York state flag
New York54,554.98141,297
North Carolina state flag
North Carolina53,819.16139,391
Arkansas state flag
Alabama state flag
Louisiana state flag
Mississippi state flag
Pennsylvania state flag
Ohio state flag
Virginia state flag
Tennessee  state flag
Kentucky state flag
Indiana state flag
Maine state flag
South Carolina state flag
South Carolina32,020.4982,933
West Virginia state flag
West Virginia24,230.0462,756
Maryland state flag
Hawaii state flag
Massachusetts state flag
Vermont state flag
New Hampshire state flag
New Hampshire9,349.1624,214
New Jersey state flag
New Jersey8,722.5822,591
Connecticut state flag
Delware state flag
Rhode Island state flag
Rhode Island1,544.894,001

5 largest states in the US by area

Map of the 5 largest states in the United States

1. Alaska – 665,384 square miles

Snow-capped mountain range in Alaskaa
Snow-capped Alaskan mountains

Covering more than 665,000 square miles, Alaska is the US’s largest state by far. It’s so big the next three largest states — Texas, California, and Montana — could fit all into it with room to spare, and the US’s smallest state, Rhode Island, could fit into it 430 times.

As mentioned, Alaska is located in the northwestern part of North America. It borders Canada’s Yukon territory and British Columbia province to the east and is separated from Russia to the west by the Bering Strait. The Arctic Ocean’s Chukchi and Beaufort seas lie to the north, and the Pacific Ocean lies to the south.

Alaska’s landscape is dramatic, featuring 34,000 miles of tidal shoreline, multiple active volcanoes, more than three million lakes, the largest glacier in North America, the Bering Glacier, and the highest mountain in North America, Denali.

Nickname: The Last Frontier

2. Texas – 268,596 square miles

A barn with the flag of Texas painted on the roof in a rural area of the US state
A barn with the flag of Texas painted on the roof

The second-largest state in the US is Texas. With an area of nearly 270,000 square miles, it is also the largest state in the contiguous US.

Located in the South Central region of the country, Texas shares borders with Louisiana, Arkansas, Oklahoma, New Mexico, and the Mexican states of Chihuahua, Coahuila, Nuevo Leon, and Tamaulipas. The Gulf of Mexico lies to the southeast. 

Despite its association with the US southwestern deserts, only ten percent of the state’s land area is desert, and it has a diverse terrain of hills and mountains, grasslands, woods and forests, and more than 360 miles of coastline.

Nickname: Texas is nicknamed the ‘Lone Star State’ because it used to be an independent republic. The Lone Star features on the state flag.

3. California – 163,695 square miles

San Fransisco's Golden Gate Bridge in California
San Fransisco’s Golden Gate Bridge in the US state of California

California is the third-largest state in the US, at more than 160,000 square miles. To put that into perspective, it is five times the size of the entire country of Austria. California is also the most populous state in the US, and Los Angeles — one of the largest cities in North America — is its most populous city. 

Located along the Pacific Coast in the Western United States, California’s bordering states are Oregon, Nevada, Arizona, and the Mexican state of Baja California. 

The state’s landscape is extremely diverse, stretching from the Pacific Coast and towns and cities in the west to the Sierra Nevada mountain range in the east and the forests in the north to the Mojave Desert in the south.

Nickname: The Golden State

4. Montana – 147,040 square miles

Grinnell Lake in Glacier National Park, Montana
Grinnell Lake in Glacier National Park

The US’s fourth-largest state is Montana. It covers more than 145,000 square miles, making it just slightly bigger than the country of Germany. 

Montana is located in the Western United States, with the Canadian provinces of Alberta, British Columbia, and Saskatchewan to the north, Wyoming to the south, North Dakota and South Dakota to the east, and Idaho to the west.

There are many mountain ranges throughout the state, but most can be found in the west. The landscape in the east consists of smaller mountains and varies from lush and green to dry and rocky. The Mississippi-Missouri River System — the longest river system in North America — begins in the Red Rocks River in Montana and flows 3,895 miles to the Gulf of Mexico.

Nickname: Montana doesn’t have an official nickname, but its unofficial ones include ‘Big Sky Country’, ‘Land of the Shining Mountains’, ‘The Last Best Place’, and ‘The Treasure State’.

5. New Mexico – 121,590 square miles

Sun setting over a barren desert landscape in New Mexico, United States
Barren desert landscape in New Mexico

In fifth place on the list of largest US state sizes by area is New Mexico, which measures more than 120,000 square miles.

Along with Wyoming, Colorado, and Utah, New Mexico is one of the Mountain States of the southern Rocky Mountains. It is bordered by Texas, Oklahoma, Colorado, Arizona, and the Mexican states of Sonora, and Chihuahua.

While the state is comprised of mostly land and very little water, its climate and geography are diverse, ranging from hot, arid deserts to forested mountain ranges with cooler alpine climates. New Mexico has the most amount of UNESCO World Heritage Sites of all the states, with a total of three.

Nickname: The Land of Enchantment

5 smallest states in the US by area

Map of the smallest states in the United States

1. Rhode Island – 1,544 square miles

Rocky coastline and ocean in Newport, Rhode Island
Rocky coastline in Newport, Rhode Island

The smallest state in the US is Rhode Island, measuring only about 1,500 square miles. This means it could fit into the country of England more than 40 times. 

Located in the New England region of the US, it shares borders with the states of Massachusetts and Connecticut, with the Atlantic Ocean to the south. 

Nicknamed the ‘Ocean State’, Rhode Island has numerous beaches, and its terrain is mostly flat. Jerimoth Hill, the state’s highest natural point, is just 812 feet above sea level. 

Nickname: As well as ‘Ocean State’, Rhode Island has the nickname ‘Little Rhody’. While its official name comes from the island located within the state, most of its land area is on the mainland.

2. Delaware – 2,489 square miles

Footprints on Lewes Beach in Delaware
Footprints on Lewes Beach , Delaware

At just under 2,500 square miles, the US’s second-smallest state is Delaware.

Located in the Mid-Atlantic region of the US, it shares borders with Maryland to the south and west, New Jersey to the northeast, and Pennsylvania to the north. The Atlantic Ocean lies to the east of the state.

With a high point of 448 feet, Delaware is even flatter than Rhode Island. In fact, it has the lowest mean elevation of any US state, with much of it included in the Atlantic Coastal Plain region. However, there are some hills in the northernmost part of the state.

Nickname: Delaware’s four nicknames are ‘The First State’, ‘Blue Hen State’, ‘The Diamond State’, and ‘The Small Wonder’.

3. Connecticut – 5,543 square miles

Skyline of Hartford, Connecticut at dusk
Downtown skyline in Hartford, Connecticut

The third-smallest US state is Connecticut, which measures just over 5,500 square miles. That’s nine times smaller than the country of England.

Bordering the states of New York to the west, Massachusetts to the north, Rhode Island to the east, and Long Island Sound to the south, it is New England’s southernmost state. As well as being part of New England, Connecticut is part of the tri-state area (or New York metropolitan area), which also includes the states of New York and New Jersey.

The state’s highest peak is Bear Mountain in the northwest, but much of its terrain is flat, with many coastal towns less than 20 feet above sea level. 

Nickname: Connecticut’s official nickname is ‘The Constitution State’, but it is also referred to as ‘The Land of Steady Habits’, ‘The Nutmeg State’, and ‘The Provisions State’.

4. New Jersey – 8,722 square miles

Skyscrapers in New Jersey on the banks of the Hudson River
New Jersey skyline over the Hudson River

In fourth place on the list of smallest US state sizes by area is New Jersey, at about 8,700 square miles. The state is bordered by New York, Pennsylvania, and Delaware Bay, with the Atlantic Ocean to the south. 

New Jersey is the only US state to consist of only urban counties, but despite this, about 45 percent of the state’s land mass is covered in forest. Its highest point is in Montague Township, with an elevation of 1,803 feet above sea level, and the state’s major rivers include the Delaware, Hudson, Raritan, and Passaic. Both sunrise and sunset can be seen from the Jersey Shore due to the state’s peninsular geography.

Nickname: The Garden State

5. New Hampshire – 9,349 square miles

Boats on the water in Portsmouth, New Hampshire
Boats on the water in Portsmouth, New Hampshire

New Hampshire is the US’s fifth-smallest state. Covering a little over 9,300 square miles, it could fit into Texas 29 times.

Like Connecticut and Rhode Island, New Hampshire is situated in New England. It is bordered by three other New England states — Massachusetts, Vermont, and Maine — as well as the Gulf of Maine, and the Canadian province of Quebec.

The state’s terrain is so mountainous and forested, it is a major tourist destination for hiking and winter sports, with Mount Monadnock one of the most-climbed mountains in the US. The state is also known for having more than 800 lakes and ponds and around 19,000 miles of streams and rivers.

Nickname: New Hampshire was nicknamed ‘The Granite State’ due to its extensive natural rock formations made of granite.

Credit: Map images created with

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