The flags of the U.S.states, territories and federal district exhibit a variety of regional influences and local histories, as well as different styles and design principles. Nonetheless, the majority of the states' flags share the same design pattern consisting of the state seal superimposed on a monochrome background, commonly blue.
The most recent current state flag is that of Utah (February 16, 2011), while the most recent current territorial flag is that of the Northern Mariana Islands (July 1, 1985).
According to a 2001 survey by the North American Vexillological Association, New Mexico has the best-designed flag of any U.S. state, U.S. territory, or Canadian province, while Georgia's state flag was rated the worst design. (Georgia adopted a new flag in 2003; Nebraska's state flag, whose design was rated second worst, remains in use to date.) About half the flags have a common "seal on a bed sheet" design, wherein the state seal is simply put on a solid, usually blue, background. Such flags consistently get the lowest ranks from the Vexillological Association.
The U.S. national flag is the official flag for all islands, atolls, and reefs composing the United States Minor Outlying Islands. However, unofficial flags are in use on five of these nine insular areas:
^ abState of Mississippi (February 7, 2001). "Miss. Code Ann. § 3-3-16: Design of state flag". Mississippi Code of 1972. LexisNexis. HISTORY: SOURCES: Laws, 2001, ch. 301, § 2, eff from and after February 7, 2001 (the date the United States Attorney General interposed no objection under Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, to the addition of this section.)
^"The Oklahoma State Flag". NetState. NState, LLC. February 6, 2014. Retrieved January 26, 2015. Colors shall be colorfast and shall not bleed one into another. Added by Laws 1925, c. 234, p. 340, § 1. Amended by Laws 1941, p. 90, § 1; Laws 2006, c. 181, § 1, eff. Nov. 1, 2006.
^Commonwealth of Virginia (February 1, 1950). "§ 1-506. Flag of the Commonwealth.". Code of Virginia. Virginia: Commonwealth of Virginia. Retrieved January 28, 2015. The flag of the Commonwealth shall be a deep blue field, with a circular white centre of the same material. Upon this circle shall be painted or embroidered, to show on both sides alike, the coat of arms of the Commonwealth, as described in § 1-500 for the obverse of the great seal of the Commonwealth; and there may be a white fringe on the outer edge, furthest from the flagstaff. This shall be known and respected as the flag of the Commonwealth. (Code 1950, § 7-32; 1966, c. 102, § 7.1-32; 2005, c. 839.)
^State of Wisconsin. "286". Section: 1.08: State flag. Laws of 1979. Retrieved August 21, 2015. The department of administration shall ensure that all official state flags that are manufactured on or after May 1, 1981, conform to the requirements of this section. State flags manufactured before May 1, 1981, may continue to be used as state flags.
^ While this flag was officially adopted by Louisiana in 1861 there is no indication that it actually flew over state buildings up to 1912. In that year (1912) the blue pelican flag was officially adopted after nearly 100 years of unofficial use.