Talk:List of states and territories of the United States

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Georgia[edit]

I removed the link in the table for Georgia because it is erroneously pointing to the Wiki page for the country of Georgia, not the US State. I cannot figure out how to complete the edit and insert the new link to the proper Wiki page. Offeiriad (talk) —Preceding undated comment added 18:53, 11 July 2013 (UTC)

Sorting[edit]

Would it be possible to create a column displaying the numbers 1 - 50 which would not sort so that when the states were sorted by any of the sortable parameters, the ordinal number of each state would be available in that column? I know this is possible in a spreadsheet, I have high hopes for Wikipedia. Anewcharliega (talk) 23:11, 6 November 2012 (UTC)

"Key" title[edit]

A little while ago, I came across this page and decided that I needed to separate the list itself from the description of the content. I called the section, "How to Use this List." Sometime later, somebody changed it to, "Key." I find the term, "key," a little misleading. That being said, "How to Use this List" doesn't sound like the best title in the word. Does anybody have a better title than either of those?LM103 (talk) 23:53, 13 November 2012 (UTC)

I was reading another Wikipedia article and the term, "Legend," was used. Because I feel that is clearer than key, I have used that. LM103 (talk) 02:07, 17 November 2012 (UTC)

Legend is fine with me. I was very welcoming of a better title. :) --Izno (talk) 03:22, 17 November 2012 (UTC)
Thanks. I was a little concerned myself.LM103 (talk) 04:54, 17 November 2012 (UTC)

error in total area[edit]

I was reading this page when I noticed that in the table of “Territories of the United States of America”, total area for “Northern Mariana Islands” the area mentioned is 52,897 sq mi (137,002 km2) but in the page of “Northern Mariana Islands” the area mentioned is 463.63 km2 179.01 sq mi. Pleas correct the error. Many thanks for this incredible encyclopedia.

Yours sincerely Njdeh Andjergholi. --37.32.28.220 (talk) 06:32, 30 April 2013 (UTC)

District of Columbia[edit]

The proper name of the District of Columbia is not Washington, D.C. According to the US Census Bureau (Page 31). "The District of Columbia has one city, Washington, which is coextensive with the District of Columbia. Washington city governmentally consolidated with the District of Columbia in 1874, which is a functioning government at the equivalent of the state level". In other words, it is the rough equivalent of a consolidated city-county, like San Francisco. The proper name for the district is the District of Columbia. The proper name of the city is Washington. Hence the term "Washington, D.C.", which uses the conventional city-state format. Because we are discussing the district in this article, it is appropriate to regard it as the District of Columbia, and list its 'largest city' as 'Washington' - similar to how, when discussing the counties of California, you would say "San Francisco County", and list its seat of government as "San Francisco". Toa Nidhiki05 00:32, 18 July 2013 (UTC)

Washington, D.C., is certainly a proper name for Washington, D.C. Your source from the Census Bureau is selective quoting. It says, "Congress has treated the District of Columbia as coextensive with Washington city since 1895" (emphasis mine). There is no actual law that makes the boundaries of the defunct city of Washington "coextensive" with the District. In any event, portraying the idea that "Washington" is a separate city within the District is factually wrong at worst and needlessly confusing at best. -epicAdam(talk) 22:56, 18 July 2013 (UTC)
It is not factually wrong. If you require further proof, look here, where the Census Bureau lists 'Washington' as the largest city in DC. If that still isn't good enough for you, look at this one (page 45 in a PDF document), which lists "Washington City, DC". It is very clear here what the census department says, and it flies very contrary to what you say. Toa Nidhiki05 23:40, 18 July 2013 (UTC)
The Census Bureau is a good source for population data, but not history. The Census Bureau treats Washington as a city, as is customary, but you can still not provide the law that made the city of Washington coextensive with the District because it does not exist. Claiming that Washington still exists as a separate city does a disservice to the reader and perpetuates a common, but mistaken, belief. Best, epicAdam(talk) 23:50, 18 July 2013 (UTC)
There is no incorporated city known as Washington. The United States Census Bureau has treated Washington as a city for general statistical purposes, but under law, there is no such place coextensive with the District of Columbia. In a causal sense, Washington is a community located outside of all U.S. states and serving as the capital or federal district of the country. Thus, the statement of Washington being the largest and only city of the District of Columbia is simply incorrect. Under law, it is not a city-state or anything like that. TBrandley (TCB) 04:09, 19 July 2013 (UTC)
The City of Washington is legally defined by District of Columbia Official Code § 1-107:
That portion of the District included within the limits of the City of Washington, as the same existed on the 21st day of February, 1871, and all that part of the District of Columbia embraced within the bounds and constituting on February 11, 1895, the City of Georgetown (as referred to in the Acts of Congress approved February 21, 1871, 16 Stat. 419, ch. 62, and June 20, 1874, 18 Stat. 116, ch. 337) shall be known as and shall constitute the City of Washington, the federal capital; and all general laws, ordinances, and regulations of the City of Washington are extended and made applicable to that part of the District of Columbia formerly known as the City of Georgetown....
It has legal and official existence, incorporated status aside. That the city is defined by statute rather than by the usual means of incorporation and charter is not really material. the point is that "Washington" is not merely an informal way of referring to D.C.; it has legal existence. To me, it makes sense to include it in the table, to keep the parallel construction with the state/territory tables; and to also make clear that it is now the only city within the District. A non-USAian not familiar with D.C.'s unique status may wonder what the largest city in the district is; keeping Washington in there addresses this. TJRC (talk) 23:06, 19 July 2013 (UTC)
Yes, Washington does informally refer to the District of Columbia. If not, why is it not mentioned within the Washington, D.C. article. It is not the only city in the District of Columbia, there are no cities within the area. It is a federal district located outside of any U.S. state that is similar to that of a city. Legally, it does not exist and must be incorporated for it to be existent. Adding the largest city parameter provides readers with the incorrect idea—that Washington is legally its own city covering all of the District of Columbia. It is a common belief, and what makes that a reliable source in any case. It does not come from any federal government website, or anything similar. The casual city of Washington is neither actually a city or state, but rather a large metropolitan area covering various areas of Virginia and Maryland. You cannot provide any source stating that Washington, by law or incorporation, is its own incorporated city or municipality for that matter. We don't state that American towns are actually cities because of the public's claims. Thus, I strongly oppose the addition of the parameter. The boundaries have not been made "coextensive" with the defunct city. Best, TBrandley (TCB) 00:43, 20 July 2013 (UTC)
Surely you're not saying that the official code of DC is not a reliable source? What reliable source are you referring to that says it's not a city? What are you referring to that trumps a statute?
BTW, digging a bit deeper, the city of Washington was indeed incorporated, in 1802, by an act of Congress. "There is no incorporated city known as Washington" is not correct. The citation is 2 Stat. 195, May 3, 1802. You can find the volume here (volume 2, page 195 on the printed page numbers; page 231 of the PDF file, assuming its the same copy I have). The pertinent language is:
Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, That the inhabitants of the city of Washington be constituted a body politic and corporate, by the name of a mayor and council of the city of Washington, and by their corporate name, may sue and be sued, implead and be impleaded, grant, receive, and do all other acts as natural persons, and may purchase and hold real, personal and mixed property, or dispose of the same for the benefit of the said city ; and may have and use a city seal, which may be broken or altered at pleasure....
So you have not only the statutes of the District saying it's a city, but an actual Act of Congress saying so as well. TJRC (talk) 01:16, 20 July 2013 (UTC)
Yes, Washington was incorporated as a city in 1802 by the United States Congress.. However, you are forgetting some varied important factors in favor of my opposition. The City of Washington was actually incorporated as a "federal city" in 1802, and it did comprise a local, municipal government. However, according to the Organic Act of 1871, the City of Washington was unincorporated and merged to create one government for the entire territory. See District of Columbia home rule#History of self-government: "This Act effectively combined the City of Washington, Georgetown, and unincorporated area known then as Washington County, into a single municipal government for the whole District of Columbia". The Council of the District of Columbia was formed. It was never reincorporated again after this process and thus does not officially exist as a legal city today. It now does not maintain its own government, legally exist, and is the same entity as the District of Columbia, the federal district. Today, Washington is the common term for the formal District of Columbia and a metropolitan region not affiliated with the former city. The District does maintain a very complex government and entity, however. Like I stated previously, the United States Census Bureau does treat Washington as a city for statistical purposes only, but you cannot find any sources to support its current legal entity as a deceased city. Thus, I still oppose this proposal. Best, TBrandley (TCB) 07:39, 23 July 2013 (UTC)
TBrandley has this correct. The "City of Washington" did exist but has not since 1871 when it lost its charter and governmental functions were applied to the District as a whole. The place named "Washington" did continue to exist, but it has no present legal status. An imperfect but analogous example to this situation can be found right across the river in Arlington County, Virginia. There are no cities within Arlington County. However, the postal address is "Arlington, VA" and the Census Bureau treats Arlington as a "city" for statistical purposes even though there is no such legal place. One would not say that there is a city that is coterminous with the county because no such city exists. That's essentially the same issue we're talking about here. Best, epicAdam(talk) 12:57, 23 July 2013 (UTC)
EpicAdam, the "City of Washington" does exist and is codified in the District of Columbia Official Code.

That portion of the District included within the limits of the City of Washington, as the same existed on the 21st day of February, 1871, and all that part of the District of Columbia embraced within the bounds and constituting on February 11, 1895, the City of Georgetown (as referred to in the Acts of Congress approved February 21, 1871, 16 Stat. 419, ch. 62, and June 20, 1874, 18 Stat. 116, ch. 337) shall be known as and shall constitute the City of Washington, the federal capital; and all general laws, ordinances, and regulations of the City of Washington are extended and made applicable to that part of the District of Columbia formerly known as the City of Georgetown. The title and existence of said Georgetown as a separate and independent city by law is abolished. Nothing in this section shall operate to affect or repeal existing law making Georgetown a port of entry, except as to its name.

Contrary to what you are saying, this was passed in 1895 - well after you say the city ceased to exist. Toa Nidhiki05 14:04, 23 July 2013 (UTC)

So far, I see a lot of reliable sources indicating that Washington is a city; and that today its borders are coextensive with the district. Reliable sources cited so far include (1) the U.S. Census bureau; (2) the statute of the District of Columbia; and (3) an act of Congress. Here are a few more:

  • (4) "The Charter granted by Congress made Washington an incorporated city." Council of the District of Columbia, DC Home Rule ([1])
  • (5) "Federal district of the U.S. Coextensive with the city of Washington, it is bounded by Maryland and Virginia." Definition of "District of Columbia", Merriam-Webster Concise Encyclopedia ([2])
  • (6) "Washington, in full Washington, D.C. (“District of Columbia”), city and capital of the United States of America. It is coextensive with the District of Columbia (the city is often referred to as simply D.C.)" Encyclopedia Brittanica, "Washington" ([3])

No one has cited any reliable sources to the contrary. The positions to the contrary are assertions, backed with no reliable sources: "There is no incorporated city known as Washington"; "Washington does informally refer to the District of Columbia"; "Legally, it does not exist"; "The place named 'Washington' did continue to exist, but it has no present legal status", etc.

The few attempts to go to any source at all are simply referring to other Wikipedia articles: "If not, why is it not mentioned within the Washington, D.C. article"; "See District of Columbia home rule#History of self-government". However, Wikipedia itself is not a reliable source.

In sum, the sources, including the authoritative primary source, the statutes of the District of Columbia, are overwhelmingly that Washington is a city with actual legal status. Not a single source has been cited for the contrary, and I cannot find any myself. Absent some actual reliable sources for the claim that Washington is not actually a city, it seems pretty clear that the article should include it as such. TJRC (talk) 17:37, 23 July 2013 (UTC)

  • Those arguments that you are providing are ridiculous. The first of those sources come from 1802 when it was first incorporated and is historical as I already pointed out above, while the second of which is simply a dictionary with no interest of legal entity or official terminology. Meanwhile, the source from Encyclopedia Brittanica may be usually considered reliable, but let's not forget that is also the article stating that Washington, D.C. is an occupied territory of the United States, when it actually exists as a federal district. You cannot believe everything those people claim, but it is the same thing: the United States Census Bureau treats Washington as a city for statistical purposes and Encyclopedia Brittanica is following on those documents. I still respectfully oppose this proposal.

Here are the reliable sources pointing to the contrary that you requested:

  1. Kalorama Triangle: The History of a Capital Neighborhood. The History Press. 2011. p. 36. "The District of Columbia Organic Act of 1871 revoked the Organic Act of 1801 and merged the City of Washington, Georgetown and Washington County into the single entity of the District of Columbia." 
  2. Origin and government of the District of Columbia. United States House of Representatives. 1909. pp. 9–10. "The act of Congress of February 21, 1871, which revoked the charters of the corporations of the City of Washington, Georgetown and the lavy court of the County of Washington, established a single municipal government officially known as the District of Columbia", and later, "The present local government of the District of Columbia, like its two immediate predecessors, is a municipal corporation having jurisdiction over the entire territory." 

My previous quotation of place named 'Washington' did continue to exist, but it has no present legal status is correct. The Council of the District of Columbia serves the entire territory, but the Washington City Council does not exist for legal or government purposes, as per those sources indicated above. The District of Columbia has all rights for the entire area, not the deceased city of Washington. TBrandley (TCB) 19:57, 23 July 2013 (UTC)

Of course, you conveniently neglect to mention the bit in the the Charter of the District of Columbia that specifically states the 'city of Washington' exists, with borders co-extensive with the District itself. That piece was added in 1895 - well after the 1871 date you put. Toa Nidhiki05 20:35, 23 July 2013 (UTC)
I have just read the document you presume provides evidence of Washington's official existence, but have not found anything there that states it was actually reincorporated as a city since its last merger. A code is not going to help prove your case. There has been no legal agency for the United States claiming the borders are "coextensive" with the District of Columbia, or that it even exists, while the "official code" that you pointed out states past tense terms. The United States Census Bureau is only a general statistical agency! TBrandley (TCB) 22:11, 23 July 2013 (UTC)
So the city exists, but it doesn't exist? I'm a bit confused here. The code of the District of Columbia in theory should prove my case, because the DC code contains all the laws of the District of Columbia. Toa Nidhiki05 20:32, 25 July 2013 (UTC)

Traditional abbreviations for the states, D.C., and the territorities[edit]

It would be great if the tables had the traditional abbreviations for the relevant entries because a lot of people still refer to a particular state by a traditional abbreviation and it's still widely used in the newspapers, legal citations, etc. Jay (talk) 19:49, 29 August 2013 (UTC)

The two-letter postal codes, which are identical to the ISO 3166-2:US codes, are listed in this article. Many other abbreviations and codes can be found at List of U.S. state abbreviations. SiBr4 (talk) 20:11, 29 August 2013 (UTC)

Sorting by statehood[edit]

As of now, if you sort the table by Date of Statehood, it gets sorted in alphabetical order, starting with all states that were accepted into the Union in April, no matter which year, followed by those accepted in August and so on. I understand that the dates should be displayed that way, but shouldn't that column have invisible sort criteria, so that they are sorted in chronological order? /Ludde23 Talk Contrib 11:39, 11 February 2014 (UTC)

Does it work now? I've added data-sort-type="date" to the "Statehood" column, which should force the column to read its contents as dates rather than text. SiBr4 (talk) 12:03, 11 February 2014 (UTC)