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U.S. state

U.S. states
Also known as:
Commonwealth (in four states)
Map of USA States with names white.svg
Category Federated state
Location  United States of America
Number 50
Populations 585,501 (Wyoming) – 39,250,017 (California)
Areas 1,214 square miles (3,140 km2) (Rhode Island) – 663,268 square miles (1,717,860 km2) (Alaska)
Government State government
Subdivisions County (or equivalent)

A U.S. state is a constituent political entity of the United States of America. There are 50 states, which are bound together in a union with each other. Each state holds administrative jurisdiction over a defined geographic territory, and shares its sovereignty with the United States federal government. Due to the shared sovereignty between each state and the federal government, Americans are citizens of both the federal republic and of the state in which they reside. State citizenship and residency are flexible, and no government approval is required to move between states, except for persons covered by certain types of court orders (e.g., paroled convicts and children of divorced spouses who are sharing custody).

States range in population from just under 600,000 (Wyoming) to over 39 million (California), and in area from 1,214 square miles (3,140 km2) (Rhode Island) to 663,268 square miles (1,717,860 km2) (Alaska). Four states use the term commonwealth rather than state in their full official names.

States are divided into counties or county-equivalents, which may be assigned some local governmental authority but are not sovereign. County or county-equivalent structure varies widely by state. State governments are allocated power by the people (of each respective state) through their individual constitutions. All are grounded in republican principles, and each provides for a government, consisting of three branches: executive, legislative, and judicial.


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