The United States is often considered one of the most important countries in the world since it is always at the forefront, being a focus of interest in terms of tourism, sports, politics and culture.
In fact, this country has long influenced the entire world. However, we can see that few know which is the capital of the country, but how many states the United States has.
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What is a state, exactly?
Because it turns out that the capital, Washington DC, is a federal district and not a state – it doesn’t belong to any state either.
That has historical reasons: when the country was founded, they did not want to give any state the extra power of having the capital.
And the best-known territory is not a state either: Puerto Rico.
Officially, Puerto Rico is a “commonwealth”, which is not the same as being a state like California, Arizona or Utah.
The citizens of Puerto Rico are citizens of the United States, but they do not have representation in the Senate.
Do you want to be a state one day?
Some yes and others no.
The fact is that the territories can be incorporated as states if they are organized, but so far they have not done so. Apparently they would have to hold a referendum and write a constitution, as others have done to access the union in the past.
The other territories include Guam, the US Virgin Islands, and some other Pacific and Caribbean islands.
And the latest states to join are Arizona (my dear land, incorporated as a state in 1912), Alaska, and Hawaii (incorporated in 1959).
How many states does the USA have?
There remains some confusion about the number of states in the United States .
The United States has a total of 50 states (subnational entities) that share sovereignty with the federal government . Although their legal status is the same as the rest, some states such as Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, Virginia and Kentucky use the title of commonwealth and not state.
Each state in the United States has governmental jurisdiction over a distinct and defined geographic territory and, as mentioned above, shares sovereignty with the federal government.
Because of this exchange of national sovereignty, Americans are citizens of the Federal Republic, but also of the state in which they live.
There is flexibility regarding citizenship mobility between the member states of the United States. Government approval is not required to move from one US state to another, except for those with special restrictions (such as parolees and children of divorced couples in joint custody).
In addition to the 50 states, there are some non-state territories and the federal district of Washington DC.
What is a federal state?
The states of the United States of America are federated states, and these in turn are part of a federal state. Citizens have dual citizenship. The federal state has a series of competencies that may vary from one state to another:
- The education
- Local taxes
- The rights of people (marriage, divorce …)
What is the capital of the United States?
The capital of the United States is Washington DC, it is a federal district and not a US state. The federal district does not belong to any American state and this for historical reasons: when the country was created, they did not want to grant to any state a power superior to others, and above all that of owning the capital.
Commonwealth: Puerto Rico
There is even an exception. Officially, Puerto Rico is a “Commonwealth”, which is not the same as a state like California, Arizona or Utah. The citizens of Puerto Rico are citizens of the United States, but they do not have representation in the Senate. Will they ever want to become a state of the United States like any other? Some are in favor, some are against …
The last states in the United States to join are Arizona (incorporated as a state in 1912), Alaska, and Hawaii (incorporated in 1959).
A little more about the geography of the United States
New York is the largest city in the United States and belongs to a state also called New York. Many people who work in New York live in neighboring states like New Jersey and Connecticut, which are very close and connected by land and rail (the cost of living is lower, of course).
Washington DC (the capital of the United States) does not belong to the state of Washington . Washington state is on the west coast, while Washington DC is on the east coast.
Alaska is the largest state in the United States (although many maps narrow it down to save space). Alaska belonged to Russia until in 1867, it sold the territory to the United States. The second largest state in the United States is Texas, followed by California.