U.S. States by Area

Alaska, the largest state
Alaska is the largest state in the United States. Its 663,267 square milesis 429 times larger than Rhode Island, the country's smallest state. StockTrek/Getty Images

The United States is the world's third largest country by area, ranked behind Russia and Canada. Its 50 states vary widely in area. The largest state, Alaska, is more than 400 times larger than Rhode Island, the smallest state

Texas is bigger than California, making it the largest state of the 48 contiguous states, but measured by population, the rankings are reversed. California is the most populous state with 39,776,830 residents, according to 2017 U.S. Census estimates, while Texas had a population of 28,704,330.

The Lone Star State may be catching up, though, with a growth rate of 1.43 percent in 2017 compared with 0.61 percent for California. When ranked by population, Alaska drops to 48th place.

A Study in Contrasts 

Including water features, Alaska is 663,267 square miles. In contrast, Rhode Island is a mere 1,545 square miles, and 500 square miles of that is Narragansett Bay.

By area, Alaska is so large that it is larger than the next three states combined—Texas, California, and Montana—and is more than twice the size of second-ranked Texas. According to the State of Alaska's official website, it's one-fifth the size of the lower 48 states. Alaska stretches about 2,400 miles east to west and 1,420 miles north to south. Including islands, the state has 6,640 miles of coastline (measured from point to point) and 47,300 miles of tidal shoreline. 

Rhode Island measures just 37 miles east to west and 48 miles north to south.

 The state's total boundary length is 160 miles. In area, Rhode Island could fit in Alaska nearly 486 times. The next smallest state by area is Delaware at 2,489 square miles, followed by Connecticut, which at 5,543 square miles is more than three times the size of Rhode Island and more than twice the size of Delaware.

If it were a state, the District of Columbia would be the smallest at just 68.34 square miles of which 61.05 square miles is land and 7.29 square miles is water.

The 10 largest states by area are located west of the Mississippi River: Alaska, Texas, California, Montana, New Mexico, Arizona, Nevada, Colorado, Oregon, and Wyoming. 

The seven smallest states—Massachusetts, Vermont, New Hampshire, New Jersey, Connecticut, Delaware, and Rhode Island—are in the Northeast and are among the 13 original colonies.

U.S. States by Area

The U.S. states by area include water features that are part of the state and are ranked in size by square miles.

  1. Alaska - 663,267
  2. Texas - 268,580
  3. California - 163,695
  4. Montana - 147,042
  5. New Mexico - 121,589
  6. Arizona - 113,998
  7. Nevada - 110,560
  8. Colorado - 104,093
  9. Oregon - 98,380
  10. Wyoming - 97,813
  11. Michigan - 96,716
  12. Minnesota - 86,938
  13. Utah - 84,898
  14. Idaho - 83,570
  15. Kansas - 82,276
  16. Nebraska - 77,353
  17. South Dakota - 77,116
  18. Washington - 71,299
  19. North Dakota - 70,699
  20. Oklahoma - 69,898
  21. Missouri - 69,704
  22. Florida - 65,754
  23. Wisconsin - 65,497
  24. Georgia - 59,424
  25. Illinois - 57,914
  26. Iowa - 56,271
  27. New York - 54,556
  28. North Carolina - 53,818
  29. Arkansas - 53,178
  30. Alabama - 52,419
  31. Louisiana - 51,839
  32. Mississippi - 48,430
  33. Pennsylvania - 46,055
  1. Ohio - 44,824
  2. Virginia - 42,774
  3. Tennessee - 42,143
  4. Kentucky - 40,409
  5. Indiana - 36,417
  6. Maine - 35,384
  7. South Carolina - 32,020
  8. West Virginia - 24,229
  9. Maryland - 12,406
  10. Hawaii - 10,930
  11. Massachusetts - 10,554
  12. Vermont - 9,614
  13. New Hampshire - 9,349
  14. New Jersey - 8,721
  15. Connecticut - 5,543
  16. Delaware - 2,489
  17. Rhode Island - 1,545
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Your Citation
Richard, Katherine Schulz. "U.S. States by Area." ThoughtCo, Apr. 5, 2018, thoughtco.com/us-states-by-area-1435125. Richard, Katherine Schulz. (2018, April 5). U.S. States by Area. Retrieved from https://www.thoughtco.com/us-states-by-area-1435125 Richard, Katherine Schulz. "U.S. States by Area." ThoughtCo. https://www.thoughtco.com/us-states-by-area-1435125 (accessed May 23, 2018).