Continental United States

Continental United States

__NOTOC__The term continental United States refers to the 48 contiguous states located on the North American continent south of the border with Canada, plus the District of Columbia, but excluding Alaska and Hawaii." [ continental] ", adj., "being the part of the United States on the North American continent; "also" : being the part of the United States comprising the lower 48 states"
cite book |last=Merriam-Webster, Inc. |first= |authorlink= |coauthors= |others= |title=Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary, 11th ed. |year=2003 |publisher=Merriam-Webster, Inc. |location=Springfield, Mass. |isbn=0877798095 ] cite book |last=Random House |first= |authorlink= |coauthors= |others= |title=Random House Webster's College Dictionary |year=1991 |publisher=Random House |location=New York |isbn=0679401105 ] ["The area … is continental United States, by which is meant that part of the United States lying on the continent of North America south of the Canadian boundary. It thus excludes Alaska and the recent insular accessions of Hawaii, …" [ Abstract of the 1900 Census (1902), p.xi] ] [These maps show the contiguous 48 states and D.C., but not Alaska and Hawaii.
* [ "Continental United States Population Map"]
* [ Military Bases in the Continental United States]
* [ Indian Reservations in the Continental United States]
* [ Railroads of the Continental United States]
] "CONUS" seems to be used primarily by the American military and the Federal government and those doing business with them.
*'CONUS - "Continental United States." CONUS refers to the 48 contiguous states.' [ U.S. Navy Style Guide]
*"CONUS move: A PCS move where both the current and new duty stations are defined as being within the continental United States (CONUS). CONUS includes only the 48 contiguous states, not Alaska and Hawaii." [ Military Assistance Program glossary] ] ["… merchandise to foreign countries from continental United states, Puerto Rico, and the territories of Alaska and Hawaii." [ United States Foreign Trade (1950-1953)] ] [However, there are exceptions:
*"The "continental United States" comprises the 48 plus Alaska." [ National Geographic Style Manual]
*"Continental United States: The 48 adjoining states, Alaska and District of Columbia." [ UnitedCargo glossary]
*"In the absence of any such statement, Alaska probably would be regarded as a part of the continental United States." [ Inland Marine and Transportation Insurance (1949)]
] Because Alaska is also on the North American continent, the term, if interpreted literally, should also include that state, so the term is sometimes qualified with the explicit inclusion or exclusion of Alaska to resolve any ambiguity. [
*'… the term "United States mainland" means the continental United States (not including Alaska).' [ Internal Revenue Code (2007)]
*'Such subsection is further amended by striking out "continental United States (including Alaska)" …' [ United States Code Annotated (1927)]
*"… for the states and territories Outside of the Continental United States. (Includes Alaska, …) …" [ National Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster]
*"OCONUS: Abbreviation for Outside the Continental United States. Includes Alaska and Hawaii." [ Glossary of Army Terms]
*"… outside the continental United States (includes Alaska and Hawaii, as well as Canada and all foreign countries) …" [ Equimax candidate listing]

Some other terms which are equivalent in common usage, but which have less ambiguity in their meaning, include:

* Contiguous United States
* Coterminous (or Conterminous) United States
* The Lower 48 ["In Alaskan context, "lower forty-eight" may be used." [ National Geographic Style Manual] . The District of Columbia, while not a state, is generally understood to be included in the "lower 48".]

The U.S. military also has a term which is equivalent in common usage:


The 48 states and D.C. together have an area of 3,119,884.69 square miles (8,080,464.25 km²). Of this, 2,959,064.44 sq mi (7,663,941.71 km²) is land, comprising 83.65% of U.S. land area. Officially, 160,820.25 sq mi (416,522.38 km²) is water area, comprising 62.66% of the nation's water area. Its 2000 census population was 279,583,437, comprising 99.35% of the nation's population. Its population density was 94.484 inhabitants/sq mi (36.48/km²), compared to 79.555/sq mi (30.716/km²) for the nation as a whole. [ [ Population and land area from Census of 2000] United States Census Bureau]

Alaska and Hawaii

Some places, because of their own location relative to the contiguous United States, have their own unique labels for it.


In Hawaii and overseas American territories, for instance, the terms "the Mainland" or "U.S. Mainland" are used to refer to the continental United States.


In Alaska, given the ambiguity surrounding the usage of "continental", the term "continental United States" is almost unheard of when referring to the contiguous 48 states. Several other terms have been used over the years. Most Americans are familiar with the term "Lower 48", which for many years was the most common Alaskan equivalent for "continental United States". However, since the 1980s Alaskans have increasingly adopted the term "Outside" to refer to the rest of the United States. Alaskans will speak of going Outside to vacation or will refer to being born Outside." [ [ Alaska Answers weblog] ] [ [ Speak Alaskan] ] [ [ About Alaska] ]


ee also

*Extreme points of the United States

External links

*Definition of [ "continental"] .
*Definition of [ "contiguous"] .
*Definition of [ "coterminous"] and [ "conterminous"] .

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