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Proper U.S. State Abbreviations and Military "State" Abbreviations: How to Abbreviate Your State

Updated on August 5, 2014

Abbreviate U.S. State Names Properly for the Mail

In this guide you will find the U.S. Postal Service's abbreviations for U.S. states. When addressing an envelope you can always use the entire state name, but the Postal Service prefers these official abbreviations.

More questions about addressing an envelope? Follow the link at the bottom of the Hub.

Facts About U.S. Postal Abbreviations

The U.S. Postal Service published the first list of official abbreviations in 1874 and that list remained largely unchanged until 1963. That year, the five-digit zip code was introduced. To make room on envelopes and cards, the Post Service shortened all state abbreviations to two letters. Those abbreviations remain in effect today, with one exception. Nebraska's original abbreviation, NB, was changed to NE in 1969, to avoid confusion with New Brunswick, Canada.

Military "State" Postal Abbreviations

These are the official abbreviations for U.S. Military "States":

Armed Forces Africa: AE

Armed Forces Americas (except Canada): AA

Armed Forces Canada: AE

Armed Forces Europe: AE

Armed Forces Middle East: AE

Armed Forces Pacific: AP

United States State Abbreviations

Below are the official two-letter abbreviations for U.S. states and possessions adopted by the U.S. Postal Service in 1963.

ALABAMA: AL

ALASKA: AK

AMERICAN SAMOA: AS

ARIZONA: AZ

ARKANSAS: AR

CALIFORNIA: CA

COLORADO: CO

CONNECTICUT: CT

DELAWARE: DE

DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA: DC

FEDERATED STATES OF MICRONESIA: FM

FLORIDA: FL

GEORGIA: GA

GUAM: GU

HAWAII: HI

IDAHO: ID

ILLINOIS: IL

INDIANA: IN

IOWA: IA

KANSAS: KS

KENTUCKY: KY

LOUISIANA: LA

MAINE: ME

MARSHALL ISLANDS: MH

MARYLAND: MD

MASSACHUSETTS: MA

MICHIGAN: MI

MINNESOTA: MN

MISSISSIPPI: MS

MISSOURI: MO

MONTANA: MT

NEBRASKA: NE

NEVADA: NV

NEW HAMPSHIRE: NH

NEW JERSEY: NJ

NEW MEXICO: NM

NEW YORK: NY

NORTH CAROLINA: NC

NORTH DAKOTA: ND

NORTHERN MARIANA ISLANDS: MP

OHIO: OH

OKLAHOMA: OK

OREGON: OR

PALAU: PW

PENNSYLVANIA: PA

PUERTO RICO: PR

RHODE ISLAND: RI

SOUTH CAROLINA: SC

SOUTH DAKOTA: SD

TENNESSEE: TN

TEXAS: TX

UTAH: UT

VERMONT: VT

VIRGIN ISLANDS: VI

VIRGINIA: VA

WASHINGTON: WA

WEST VIRGINIA: WV

WISCONSIN: WI

WYOMING: WY

How to address a card or envelope

Visit this Hub for more details about addressing envelopes and cards.

Questions & Answers

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      • profile image

        belfast maine 8 years ago

        Great Hub you have here :) Please check out my Belfast Maine website would love to network!

      • Annette Rozen profile image

        Ann Martin 9 years ago

        where did u come up with the idea to write on this topic? Why military states?

      • yeastcure profile image

        yeastcure 9 years ago

        For sure, I always get the M's mixed up lol

      • William F. Torpey profile image

        William F Torpey 9 years ago from South Valley Stream, N.Y.

        I was very disappointed when the U.S. Postal Service came up with its current abbreviations for the states. I realize it's easier for them, but I always liked the old, standard abbreviations. On top of that I understand that the Postal Service prefers we use no punctuation. Sometimes "progress" is a pain in the neck!

      • Zsuzsy Bee profile image

        Zsuzsy Bee 9 years ago from Ontario/Canada

        Great List. I never remember which short form is which state. You guys in the US just have too many.

        great HUB idea.

        regards Zsuzsy

      • Isabella Snow profile image

        Isabella Snow 9 years ago

        My grandparents still use Penna, and I admit I do it too, sometimes! Good hub!

      • Robin profile image
        Author

        Robin Edmondson 9 years ago from San Francisco

        Thanks, Guru-C! ;)

      • Guru-C profile image

        Cory Zacharia 9 years ago

        Thank you Robin, for this useful guide.