Contiguous United States

The contiguous United States or officially the conterminous United States[1] consists of the 48 adjoining U.S. states (plus the District of Columbia) on the continent of North America.[2] The terms exclude the non-contiguous states of Alaska and Hawaii, and all other off-shore insular areas.[3][4] These differ from the related term continental United States which includes Alaska (also on the North American continent but separated from the 48 states by British Columbia, Canada) but excludes Hawaii and insular territories.[1]

The greatest distance (on a great circle route) entirely within the 48 contiguous states is 2,802 miles (4,509 km, between Florida and the State of Washington);[5] the greatest north-south line is 1,650 miles (2,660 km).[6]

Together, the 48 contiguous states and the District of Columbia occupy a combined area of 3,119,884.69 square miles (8,080,464.3 km2). Of this area, 2,959,064.44 square miles (7,663,941.7 km2) is contiguous land, composing 83.65% of total U.S. land area, similar to the area of Australia.[7] Officially, 160,820.25 square miles (416,522.5 km2) of the contiguous United States is water area, composing 62.66% of the nation's total water area.

The contiguous United States would be placed 5th in the list of sovereign states and dependencies by area; the total area of the country, including Alaska and Hawaii, ranks fourth. Brazil is the only country that is larger in total area than the contiguous United States, but smaller than the entire United States, while Russia, Canada and China are the only three countries larger than both. The 2010 census population of this area was 306,675,006, comprising 99.33% of the nation's population, and a density of 103.639 inhabitants/sq mi (40.015/km2), compared to 87.264/sq mi (33.692/km2) for the nation as a whole.[8]

The contiguous United States also does not include overseas U.S. territories such as American Samoa, U.S. Virgin Islands, Northern Mariana Islands, Guam and Puerto Rico, the latter of which has a higher population than Alaska and Hawaii.

National-atlas-blank-state-outlines
This shows the contiguous United States and, in insets at the lower left, the two states that are not contiguous

Other terms

While conterminous U.S. has the precise meaning of contiguous U.S. (both adjectives meaning "sharing a common boundary"), other terms commonly used to describe the 48 contiguous states have a greater degree of ambiguity.

Continental United States

Because Alaska is also on the North American continent, the term continental United States would also include that state, so the term is qualified with the explicit inclusion of Alaska to resolve any ambiguity.[3][9][10][11] The term was in use prior to the admission of Alaska and Hawaii as states of the United States and at that time usually excluded outlying territories of the United States.[12][13] However, even before Alaska became a state, it was sometimes included within the "Continental U.S."[14]

CONUS and OCONUS

CONUS, a technical term used by the U.S. Department of Defense, General Services Administration, NOAA/National Weather Service, and others, has been defined both as the continental United States, and as the 48 contiguous states.[15][16] The District of Columbia is not always specifically mentioned as being part of CONUS.[16]

OCONUS is derived from CONUS with O for outside added, thus referring to Outside of Continental United States (OCONUS).[15][17]

The lower 48

The term lower 48 is also used to refer to the conterminous United States. The National Geographic style guide recommends the use of contiguous or conterminous United States instead of lower 48 when the 48 states are meant, unless used in the context of Alaska.[18][19]

Zone of the Interior

During World War II, the first four numbered Air Forces of the USAAF were said to be assigned to the Zone of the Interior by the American military organizations of the time—the future states of Alaska and Hawaii, then each only territories of the Union, were respectively covered by the Eleventh Air Force and Seventh Air Force during WW II.

Terms used in the non-contiguous states

Both Alaskans and Hawaiians have unique labels for the contiguous United States because of their own locations relative to them.

Alaska

Alaska became the 49th state of the United States on January 3, 1959. Alaska is on the northwest end of the North American continent, but separated from the rest of the United States Pacific coast by the Canadian province of British Columbia. In Alaska, given the ambiguity surrounding the usage of continental, the term "continental United States" is almost unheard of when referring to the contiguous 48 states. Several other terms have been used over the years. The term Lower 48 has, for many years, been a common Alaskan equivalent for "contiguous United States";[20][21] today, more Alaskans use the term "Outside",[22][23] though a few persons may use "Outside" to refer to any location not within Alaska.[24]

Hawaii

Hawaii became the 50th state of the United States on August 21, 1959. It is the southernmost and so far, the latest state to join the Union. Not part of any continent, Hawaii is located in the Pacific Ocean, about 2,200 miles (3,500 km) from North America and almost halfway to Asia. In Hawaii and overseas American territories, for instance, the terms the Mainland or U.S. Mainland are often used to refer to the contiguous United States.[25]

Non-contiguous areas within the contiguous United States

Apart from off-shore US islands, a few continental portions of the contiguous US are accessible by road only by traveling through Canada. Point Roberts, Washington; Elm Point, Minnesota; and the Northwest Angle in Minnesota are three such places. Alburgh, Vermont, is not directly connected by land, but is accessible by road via bridges from within Vermont and from New York.[26]

List of contiguous U.S. states

The 48 contiguous United States are:

See also

Notes

  1. ^ a b "What constitutes the United States, what are the official definitions?". www.usgs.gov.
  2. ^ "United Airlines website". Archived from the original on April 2, 2012. Retrieved April 4, 2012. Contiguous United States: The 48 adjoining states and the District of Columbia.
  3. ^ a b Random House (1991). Random House Webster's College Dictionary. New York: Random House. ISBN 0-679-40110-5.
  4. ^ These maps show the contiguous 48 states and D.C., but not Alaska and Hawaii.
  5. ^ "The Longest Line in America!". Retrieved October 15, 2013.
  6. ^ "HowStuffWorks "Geography of the United States - Geography"". Geography.howstuffworks.com. March 30, 2008. Retrieved October 29, 2013.
  7. ^ "The World Factbook". cia.gov.
  8. ^ "Resident Population Data - 2010 Census". United States Census Bureau. Archived from the original on October 28, 2011. Retrieved January 30, 2011.
  9. ^ *"National Geographic Style Manual". Retrieved April 4, 2012. The continental United States comprises the 48 contiguous, or coterminous, states plus Alaska.
    • "United Cargo website". Archived from the original on April 2, 2012. Retrieved April 4, 2012. Continental United States: The 48 adjoining states, Alaska and District of Columbia.
    • "Alaska Airlines website". Retrieved April 4, 2012. The Continental U.S. includes the lower 48 states as well as the State of Alaska, unless otherwise specified.
    • Rodda, William H (1949). Inland Marine and Transportation Insurance. Retrieved April 4, 2012. In the absence of any such statement, Alaska probably would be regarded as a part of the continental United States. (before statehood)
  10. ^ "U.S. Navy Style Guide". Retrieved April 4, 2012. CONUS - "Continental United States" CONUS refers to the 48 contiguous states.
  11. ^ Law, C.C.H. Tax (2007). Internal Revenue Code. ISBN 9780808015963. Archived from the original on October 16, 2015. the term "United States mainland" means the continental United States (not including Alaska).
    • "... outside the continental United States (includes Alaska and Hawaii, as well as Canada and all foreign countries)... "Equimax candidate listing". Archived from the original on July 10, 2011. Retrieved November 28, 2012.
  12. ^ "Abstract of the 1900 Census (1904), p.xiii" (PDF). The area ... is continental United States, by which is meant that part of the United States lying on the continent of North America south of the Canadian boundary. It thus excludes Alaska and the recent insular accessions of Hawaii, Porto Rico (sic), the Philippine Islands, Guam, Samoa...
  13. ^ "... merchandise to foreign countries from continental United states, Puerto Rico, and the territories of Alaska and Hawaii." United States Foreign Trade (1950-1953)
  14. ^ "In the absence of any such statement, Alaska probably would be regarded as a part of the continental United States." Inland Marine and Transportation Insurance (1949)
  15. ^ a b "Per Diem Rates (CONUS and OCONUS)". United States General Services Administration.
  16. ^ a b "U.S. Navy Style Guide". CONUS - "Continental United States." CONUS refers to the 48 contiguous states. It is not synonymous with United States. CONUS is acceptable on first reference. "CONUS" seems to be used primarily by the American military and the Federal government and those doing business with them.
  17. ^ "Glossary of Army Terms". Retrieved April 4, 2012. "OCONUS: Outside Continental United States
  18. ^ "National Geographic Style Manual: conterminous, or contiguous, continental, continental United States". Retrieved April 4, 2012. Use contiguous, or conterminous, for the 48 states. The continental United States comprises the 48 contiguous, or conterminous, states plus Alaska.
  19. ^ "National Geographic Style Manual: Alaska". Retrieved December 6, 2013. The continental United States includes Alaska.[] In Alaska context, lower forty-eight or lower 48 may be used. Do not hyphenate lower 48 as an adjective. The term outside may be put in quotes on first reference if ambiguous. To distinguish the 48 states from the 49 or 50, use contiguous or conterminous.
  20. ^ "Learn to Speak Alaskan - Alaskan Language Tips - Princess Lodges". princesslodges.com.
  21. ^ "ALASKA: State Profile". Archived from the original on January 26, 2010. Retrieved December 6, 2013.
  22. ^ "Ski". google.com.
  23. ^ "What are some things Alaska does differently from the contiguous states? - Quora". quora.com.
  24. ^ Journal, Copper River Country. "Speaking Alaskan: Words Alaskans Say".
  25. ^ Edles, Laura Desfor (2003). "'Race,' 'Ethnicity,' and 'Culture' in Hawai'i: The Myth of the 'Model Minority' State". In Loretta I. Winters and Herman L. DeBose (ed.) New Faces in a Changing America: Multiracial Identity in the 21st Century. SAGE Publications. p. 241. ISBN 9780761923008.
  26. ^ Ross, Oakland (June 3, 2011). "Orphans of the atlas". Toronto Star. Retrieved June 5, 2011.

External links

Angle Inlet, Minnesota

Angle Inlet is a census-designated place (CDP) and unincorporated community in Angle Township, Lake of the Woods County, Minnesota, United States. Its population was 60 as of the 2010 census. The community is part of the Northwest Angle, the only place in the contiguous United States north of the 49th parallel; it is the northernmost census-designated place in the contiguous United States. The French built Fort Saint Charles nearby in 1732.

Angle Inlet has the last one-room school in the state and a post office with a sign stating that it is the "Most Northerly P.O. in Contiguous U.S." To travel to Angle Inlet from other parts of Minnesota by road requires driving through Manitoba, Canada.

August 2017 lunar eclipse

A partial lunar eclipse took place on August 7/8, 2017, the second of two lunar eclipses in 2017. The Moon was only slightly covered by the Earth's umbral shadow at maximum eclipse.

The moon inside the umbral shadow was a subtle red, but hard to see in contrast to the much brighter moon in the outer penumbral shadow.

The solar eclipse of August 21, 2017 occurred fourteen days later, in the same eclipse season. It was the first total solar eclipse visible in the contiguous United States since the solar eclipse of February 26, 1979.

Cape Flattery

Cape Flattery is the northwesternmost point of the contiguous United States. It is in Clallam County, Washington on the Olympic Peninsula, where the Strait of Juan de Fuca joins the Pacific Ocean. It is also part of the Makah Reservation, and is the northern boundary of the Olympic Coast National Marine Sanctuary. Cape Flattery can be reached from a short hike, most of which is boardwalked. The westernmost point in the contiguous United States is at Cape Alava, south of Cape Flattery in Olympic National Park. However, the westernmost tip of Cape Flattery is almost exactly as far west as Cape Alava, the difference being approximately 5 seconds of longitude, about 360 feet (110 m), at high tide and somewhat more at low tide.The Cape Flattery Lighthouse is on Tatoosh Island, just off the cape. Makah Bay and Neah Bay are on either side of the cape. Neah Bay, Washington is the closest town to the cape.

Cloud Peak

Cloud Peak is the highest peak within the Bighorn Mountains in the U.S. state of Wyoming. It rises to an elevation of 13,171 feet (4,015 m) and provides onlookers with dramatic views and vistas. The mountain can be climbed most easily from the western side, accessed by either the Battle Park or West Tensleep trail-heads and is roughly 24 miles round-trip from both. The peak is located in the 189,000 acre (765 km²) Cloud Peak Wilderness within Bighorn National Forest. The northeast slope of Cloud Peak is a deep cirque which harbors Cloud Peak Glacier, the last active glacier in the Bighorn Mountains.

Cloud Peak is on the border between Johnson County and Big Horn County in Wyoming and is the high point of both counties. As the high point of an isolated range, Cloud Peak has the greatest topographic prominence in the state, 7,077 feet (2,157 m), one foot more than the state's hightest mountain, 13,810 foot (4,210 m) Gannett Peak, and fifteenth greatest in the contiguous United States.

Geographic center of the contiguous United States

The geographic center of the contiguous United States is the center of 48 U.S. states. It has been regarded as such by the U.S. National Geodetic Survey (NGS) since the 1912 additions of New Mexico and Arizona to the United States.

Height above average terrain

Height above average terrain (HAAT), or (less popularly) effective height above average terrain (EHAAT), is a measure of how high an antenna site is above the surrounding landscape. HAAT is used extensively in FM radio and television, as it is more important than effective radiated power (ERP) in determining the range of broadcasts (VHF and UHF in particular, as they are line of sight transmissions). For international coordination, it is officially measured in meters, even by the Federal Communications Commission in the United States, as Canada and Mexico have extensive border zones where stations can be received on either side of the international boundaries. Stations that want to increase above a certain HAAT must reduce their power accordingly, based on the maximum distance their station class is allowed to cover (see List of North American broadcast station classes for more information on this).

The FCC procedure to calculate HAAT is: from the proposed or actual antenna site, either 12 or 16 radials were drawn, and points at 2, 4, 6, 8, and 10 miles (16 km) radius along each radial were used. The entire radial graph could be rotated to achieve the best effect for the station. The altitude of the antenna site, minus the average altitude of all the specified points, is the HAAT. This can create some unusual cases, particularly in mountainous regions—it is possible to have a negative number for HAAT (the transmitter would not be located underground, but rather in a valley, with hills on both sides taller than the transmitter itself, for example).

The FCC has divided the Contiguous United States into three zones for the determination of spacing between FM and TV stations using the same frequencies. FM and TV stations are assigned maximum ERP and HAAT values, depending on their assigned zones, to prevent co-channel interference.

The FCC regulations for ERP and HAAT are listed under Title 47, Part 73 of the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR).

International Registration Plan

The International Registration Plan (IRP) is a registration reciprocity agreement between the contiguous United States and Canadian provinces, which provides apportioned payments of registration fees, based on the total distance operated in participating jurisdictions, to them. IRP's fundamental principle is to promote and encourage the fullest possible use of the highway system.The benefit of this plan is that a carrier may be registered in only his/her home state, yet legally engage in interstate commerce. Each carrier vehicle only needs one specially marked "Apportioned", "APP", or "PRP" license plate, and a cab card which lists each jurisdiction the vehicle is valid to do business in and how much weight it is registered to carry.

Two major transportation companies under IRP are U Haul and Greyhound Lines.

Apportionable Vehicles: any vehicle intended for use of transporting a person for hire or property, within the contiguous United States and/or Canadian provinces, that drives on:

two axles having a gross vehicle weight, a registered gross vehicle weight or a gross combination weight in excess of 26,000 pounds (12,000 kg)

three or more axlesExceptions: recreational vehicles, vehicles displaying restricted plates, buses used in the transportation of chartered parties, government-owned vehicles

List of Interstate Highways

There are 70 primary Interstate Highways in the Interstate Highway System, a network of controlled-access freeways in the United States. They are assigned one- or two-digit route numbers, whereas their associated "auxiliary" Interstate Highways receive three-digit route numbers. Typically, odd-numbered Interstates run south-north, with lower numbers in the west and higher numbers in the east; even-numbered Interstates run west-east, with lower numbers in the south and higher numbers in the north. Highways whose route numbers are divisible by "5" usually represent major coast-to-coast or border-to-border routes (ex. I-10 travels from Santa Monica, California, to Jacksonville, Florida, traveling from the Pacific to Atlantic oceans). Additionally, auxiliary highways have their numbering system where a different number prefixes the number of its parent highway.

Five route numbers are duplicated in the system, though the corresponding highways are separated by state lines which prevent confusion. The main list that discusses the primary Interstate Highways in the contiguous United States is followed by sections regarding Alaska, Hawaii, and Puerto Rico.

List of Native Americans in the United States Congress

This is a list of Native Americans with documented tribal ancestry or affiliation in the U.S. Congress.

All entries on this list are related to Native American tribes based in the contiguous United States. No Alaska Natives have ever served in Congress. There are Native Hawaiians who have served in Congress, but they are not listed here because they are distinct from North American Natives.

Only two Native Americans served in the 115th Congress: Tom Cole (serving since 2003) and Markwayne Mullin (serving since 2013), both of whom are Republican Representatives from Oklahoma. On November 6, 2018, Democrats Sharice Davids of Kansas and Deb Haaland of New Mexico were elected to the U.S. House of Representatives, and the 116th Congress, which commenced on January 3, 2019, has four Native Americans. Davids and Haaland are the first two Native American women with documented tribal ancestry to serve in Congress.

Lubec, Maine

Lubec ( loo-BEK) is a town in Washington County, Maine, United States. The population was 1,359 at the 2010 census. Lubec is the easternmost town in the contiguous United States (see Extreme points of the United States) and is the closest continental location to Africa in the United States.The town is home to Quoddy Head State Park.

Mobile–Tensaw River Delta

The Mobile–Tensaw River Delta is the largest river delta and wetland in Alabama. It encompasses approximately 260,000 acres (110,000 ha) in a 40-by-10-mile (64 km × 16 km) area and is the second largest delta in the Contiguous United States.The delta's northernmost point is the confluence of the Tombigbee and Alabama rivers and follows a southerly direction that ultimately opens into the head of Mobile Bay through the Mobile, Tensaw, Apalachee, Middle, Blakeley, and Spanish rivers near the Battleship Parkway. It is contained within sections of Baldwin, Clarke, Mobile, Monroe, and Washington counties.

Mount Harvard

Mount Harvard is the third highest summit of the Rocky Mountains of North America and the U.S. state of Colorado. The prominent 14,421-foot (4395.6 m) fourteener is the highest summit of the Collegiate Peaks and the fourth highest summit in the contiguous United States. Mount Harvard is located in the Collegiate Peaks Wilderness of San Isabel National Forest, 11.7 miles (18.9 km) northwest by west (bearing 304°) of the Town of Buena Vista in Chaffee County, Colorado, United States. The summit of Mount Harvard is the highest point in Chaffee County and is higher than any point in the United States east of its longitude. The mountain was named in honor of Harvard University.

Mount Lincoln (Colorado)

Mount Lincoln is the eighth-highest summit of the Rocky Mountains of North America and the U.S. state of Colorado. The prominent 14,293-foot (4356.5 m) fourteener is the highest summit of the Mosquito Range and the eleventh-highest summit in the contiguous United States. Mount Lincoln is located in Pike National Forest, 5.2 miles (8.3 km) north-northwest (bearing 332°) of the Town of Alma in Park County, Colorado, United States. The summit of Mount Lincoln is the highest point in Park County and the entire drainage basin of the Missouri River. The mountain was named in honor of Abraham Lincoln, 16th President of the United States.

Mount Massive

Mount Massive is the second-highest summit of the Rocky Mountains of North America and the U.S. state of Colorado. The prominent 14,428-foot (4,398 m) fourteener of the Sawatch Range is located in the Mount Massive Wilderness of San Isabel National Forest, 10.6 miles (17.1 km) west-southwest (bearing 247°) of the City of Leadville in Lake County, Colorado, United States. Mount Massive edges out the third-highest summit of the Rockies, Mount Harvard, by 7 feet (2.1 m), but falls short of Mount Elbert by 12 feet (3.7 m). It ranks as the third-highest peak in the contiguous United States after Mount Whitney and Mount Elbert.

Mount Whitney

Mount Whitney is the tallest mountain in California, as well as the highest summit in the contiguous United States and the Sierra Nevada—with an elevation of 14,505 feet (4,421 m). It is in Central California, on the boundary between California's Inyo and Tulare counties, 84.6 miles (136.2 km) west-northwest of the lowest point in North America at Badwater Basin in Death Valley National Park at 282 ft (86 m) below sea level. The west slope of the mountain is in Sequoia National Park and the summit is the southern terminus of the John Muir Trail which runs 211.9 mi (341.0 km) from Happy Isles in Yosemite Valley. The east slope is in the Inyo National Forest in Inyo County.

Mount Williamson

Mount Williamson, at 14,379 feet (4,383 m), is the second highest mountain in both the Sierra Nevada range and the state of California. It is the sixth highest peak in the contiguous United States.

Olympic Peninsula

The Olympic Peninsula is the large arm of land in western Washington that lies across Puget Sound from Seattle, and contains Olympic National Park. It is bounded on the west by the Pacific Ocean, the north by the Strait of Juan de Fuca, and the east by Hood Canal. Cape Alava, the westernmost point in the contiguous United States, and Cape Flattery, the northwesternmost point, are on the peninsula. Comprising about 3600 square miles, the Olympic Peninsula contained many of the last unexplored places in the Contiguous United States. It remained largely unmapped until Arthur Dodwell and Theodore Rixon mapped most of its topography and timber resources between 1898 and 1900.

White Mountain Peak

White Mountain Peak (or simply White Mountain), at 14,252-foot (4344.0 m), is the highest peak in the White Mountains of California, the highest peak in Mono County, and the third highest peak in the state after Mount Whitney and Mount Williamson.

It is the fourteenth most topographically prominent peak in the contiguous United States. White Mountain Peak is one of only two fourteeners (peaks above 14,000 feet) in California that are not in the Sierra Nevada, the other being Mount Shasta at the far northern end of the state. It is the only fourteener in the contiguous United States that is not in the Rocky Mountains, the Cascade Range, or the Sierra Nevada.

Whitney Portal, California

Whitney Portal (formerly, Hunter Flat and Hunters Camp) is the end of the Whitney Portal road in Inyo County, California, 13.7 miles (22 km) west of Lone Pine at an elevation of 8,374 feet (2,552 m). Whitney Portal is the gateway to Mount Whitney, the highest point in the contiguous United States; it is the trailhead for the Mount Whitney Trail. Campgrounds, parking lots, bearproof food storage facilities, a store and a restaurant are located at Whitney Portal.

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