The United States has 50 sovereign states and a district of Columbia covering a total of 3,796,742.23 sq. mi. from which Alaska is the biggest state in the USA in terms of total area (including land and water) at over 665,384.04 sq. mi. (18% of the US land) whereas Rhode Island is the smallest state in the USA by total area and land area. There are eight states which have over 100,000 sq. miles of surface area.
There are plenty of significantly smaller states in the United States. Many and most of these lie in the Eastern region of the country, mainly because of their colonial history going back to before the Union was formed. Relatively newer states, particularly in the West, are urbanely planned and bigger in size for better governance.
NOTE: There are currently 13 unincorporated territories of the USA. They are controlled by the United States government but the U.S. Constitution applies only partially. The 5 of 13 unincorporated territories are smaller than the smallest state of the USA (Rhode Island). As they are unincorporated territories of USA we are including them here.
Also see: Largest States in USA
Smallest States in the United States of America
|Smallest State in US||Total Area (Sq Miles)|
Here is the list of the top smallest states in the USA as per the total area. The total area includes land area as well as water area.
1. Rhode Island ( 1,544.89 sq. miles)
At just 1,544.89 sq. miles, the State of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations is the smallest state in USA. This is the total area including land and water. It lies in the New England part of the country. Rhode Island is only 48 miles in length but has over 384 miles of coastline because of the surrounding smaller islets and being almost cut off from the mainland. Large bays and inlets make 14% of its small area, given it the nickname “The Ocean State”. It lies towards the East of the country, touching the Atlantic Ocean, right between Boston and New York.
2. Delaware ( 2,488.72 sq. miles)
Another East Coast state, Delaware is the second smallest state with an area of 2,488.72 sq. miles with mostly dense green areas and open spaces. It is known as “The First State” because it was one of the first to ratify the US Constitution. Delaware is just 96 miles (154 kilometers) in length and with 117 miles of coastline. The state faces a variety of climate, with pleasant sunny days sometimes, but strong rainfall and snow in seasons because of the coastline and adjacent ocean.
3. Connecticut ( 5,543.41 sq. miles)
At 5,543.41 sq. miles, Connecticut or “The Constitution State” lies right next to Rhode Island and is the third smallest state in the United State. Just like Delaware, Connecticut is also named after a river, Connecticut River, that flows through it. Similar to its neighboring states, it also shares a colonial history leading up to the signing of the American Constitution. Hartford and Bridgeport and two major cities of the state, with Hartford being the capital.
4. New Jersey (8,722.58 sq. miles)
Lying on the border of New York on one side and Delaware on the other, this infamous state is 8,722.58 sq. miles in area and 170 miles in length, thus bringing New Jersey to number four on this list. Due to large number of trade and industry set up there, New Jersey had the second-highest household income in 2017 in the country, making it the second wealthiest state.
5. New Hampshire (9,349.2 sq. miles)
New Hampshire covers just 0.25% of the US land with its 9,349.2 sq. miles area. New Hampshire lies towards the extreme northeast of the country and touches the Canadian province of Quebec on the north. “The Granite State” earns its name from the extensive amount of granite quarries found there. Also, there are no sales tax or personal income tax in this state and Manchester was historically once the largest cotton textile plant in the world. In the colonial ages, this area was booming with such industries along with the neighbouring states.
6. Vermont (9,616.4 sq. miles)
Almost the same size as New Jersey at 9,616.4 sq. miles and covering 0.25% of the land, Vermont is the sixth smallest in terms of area. Also known as the Green Mountain State, it is the second smallest in terms of population and the safest state in the country as of 2016. With over 12,000 years as a home to Native Americans, and later colonized by other countries, Vermont shares an expansive and diverse history of both abolition and industry. In 2000, it became the first to recognize same-sex marriage in the country
7. Massachusetts (10,554 sq. miles)
The most populous state in the New England area, Massachusetts is named after the indigenous tribe which inhabited the area. At a mere 10,554 sq. miles, it is still a center for academia, engineering, biotechnology and higher education with Harvard centered in the state. With a history starting from the Salem witch trials to producing two major political families Kennedy and Adams, and being a center point for startups (in Cambridge), Massachusetts is certainly a mixed bag of plenty of cultures, history, and technology.
Also see: Longest Bridges in USA
8. Hawaii (10,931 sq. miles)
Adding up all of 132 Hawaiian Islands it still adds up to 10,931 sq. miles, including the major eight: Hawaii (4028 sq. miles), Maui (727 sq. miles), Oahu (597 sq. miles), Kauai (562 sq. miles), and Molokai (260 sq. miles), Lanai (140 sq. miles), Niihau (69 sq. miles), and Kahoolawe (45 sq. miles). Hawaii is clearly known as a vacation spot because of a tropical climate and exotic beaches, resorts, and all other expensive luxuries. It is also the youngest state to join the sovereign US states, thus the 50th state of the US. You can find the best beaches in Hawaii here:
9. Maryland (12,405 sq. miles)
At 12,405 sq. miles and covering a third of one percentage (0.33%) of US land, Maryland is another Eastern US state. Being on the border of tidal waters, the state has over 4000 miles of coastline and a wild variety of climates. From thunderstorms and hot humid summers to heavy snow, and from sandy regions to coastline, such a variety in a small region has earned Maryland the title of “America in Miniature”.
10. West Virginia (24,230 sq. miles)
Known as the Mountain State, West Virginia neighbours Maryland to the east and covers nearly double the area as it does at 24,230 sq. miles (0.64% of the US land). With the mountains and mining industries, the state is known for a variety of outdoor activities like skiing, rafting, hiking, and mountain climbing. But the state does not rank well (nearly last) in important factors like education, employment, entrepreneurship, and even vaccinations. The largest city is the capital city of Charlestown.
11. South Carolina (32,020.49 Sq. Miles)
South Carolina is a state in the Southern United States and was named in honor of King Charles I of England. It is the 40th largest state in the US and the 23rd most populous U.S. state.
South Carolina can be divided into three natural geographic areas named Atlantic coastal plain, Piedmont, and the Blue Ridge Mountains that can be further divided into five distinct cultural regions.
12. Maine (35,379.74 Sq. Miles)
Maine is the northernmost state in New England of the Northeastern United States with 35,379.74 Sq. Miles total area. It is the 12th-smallest state in the USA by area, the 9th-least populous US state.
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Other states on the long list include South Carolina, Maine, Indiana, Kentucky and so on; moving more towards the Middle and South of the country.
Experts Answers on FAQs
A. Delaware is the second smallest state with an area of 1,949 sq. miles (5,047 sq. kilometers) with mostly dense green areas and open spaces.
A. The State of Rhode Island is the smallest state in the United States with just 1,034 sq. miles area.
A. Rhode Island, Delaware, Connecticut, and Hawaii are the 4 smallest states.
A. Wyoming is the smallest state in the USA by population with about 580,000 residents.