State Abbreviations


On July 1, 1963, the Post Office Department introduced the five-digit ZIP Code. At the time, most addressing equipment could accommodate only 23 characters (including spaces) in the bottom line of the address. To make room for the ZIP Code, state names needed to be abbreviated. The Department provided an initial list of abbreviations in June 1963, but many had three or four letters, which was still too long. In October 1963, the Department settled on the current two-letter abbreviations. Since that time, only one change has been made: in 1969, at the request of the Canadian postal administration, the abbreviation for Nebraska, originally NB, was changed to NE, to avoid confusion with New Brunswick in Canada.

A list of state abbreviations since 1831 is provided below. A more complete list of current abbreviations, including all U.S. possessions, is available online at https://pe.usps.com/text/pub28/28apb.htm.

Postal Abbreviations for States/Territories

 

1831

1874

1943

6/1963

10/1963 - present

Alabama

Al.

Ala.

Ala.

ALA

AL

Alaska

--

Alaska

Alaska

ALSK

AK

Arizona

--

Ariz.

Ariz.

ARIZ

AZ

Arkansas

Ar. T.

Ark.

Ark.

ARK

AR

California

--

Cal.

Calif.

CALIF

CA

Colorado

--

Colo.

Colo.

COL

CO

Connecticut

Ct.

Conn.

Conn.

CONN

CT

Delaware

De.

Del.

Del.

DEL

DE

District of Columbia

D. C.

D. C.

D. C.

DC

DC

Florida

Fl. T.

Fla.

Fla.

FLA

FL

Georgia

Ga.

Ga.

Ga.

GA

GA

Hawaii

--

--

Hawaii

HAW

HI

Idaho

--

Idaho

Idaho

IDA

ID

Illinois

Il.

Ill.

Ill.

ILL

IL

Indiana

Ia.

Ind.

Ind.

IND

IN

Iowa

--

Iowa

Iowa

IOWA

IA

Kansas

--

Kans.

Kans.

KANS

KS

Kentucky

Ky.

Ky.

Ky.

KY

KY

Louisiana

La.

La.

La.

LA

LA

Maine

Me.

Me.

Maine

ME

ME

Maryland

Md.

Md.

Md.

MD

MD

Massachusetts

Ms.

Mass.

Mass.

MASS

MA

Michigan

Mic. T.

Mich.

Mich.

MICH

MI

Minnesota

--

Minn.

Minn.

MINN

MN

Mississippi

Mi.

Miss.

Miss.

MISS

MS

Missouri

Mo.

Mo.

Mo.

MO

MO

Montana

--

Mont.

Mont.

MONT

MT

Nebraska

--

Nebr.

Nebr.

NEB

NB *
*to NE in 1969

Nevada

--

Nev.

Nev.

NEV

NV

New Hampshire

N. H.

N. H.

N. H.

NH

NH

New Jersey

N. J.

N. J.

N. J.

NJ

NJ

New Mexico

--

N. Mex.

N. Mex.

NM

NM

New York

N. Y.

N. Y.

N. Y.

NY

NY

North Carolina

N. C.

N. C.

N. C.

NC

NC

North Dakota

--

--

N. Dak.

ND

ND

Ohio

O.

Ohio

Ohio

OHIO

OH

Oklahoma

--

--

Okla.

OKLA

OK

Oregon

--

Oreg.

Oreg.

ORE

OR

Pennsylvania

Pa.

Pa.

Pa.

PA

PA

Puerto Rico

--

--

P. R.

PR

PR

Rhode Island

R. I.

R. I.

R. I.

RI

RI

South Carolina

S. C.

S. C.

S. C.

SC

SC

South Dakota

--

--

S. Dak.

SD

SD

Tennessee

Te.

Tenn.

Tenn.

TENN

TN

Texas

--

Tex.

Tex.

TEX

TX

Utah

--

Utah

Utah

UTAH

UT

Vermont

Vt.

Vt.

Vt.

VT

VT

Virginia

Va.

Va.

Va.

VA

VA

Washington

--

Wash.

Wash.

WASH

WA

West Virginia

--

W. Va.

W. Va.

W VA

WV

Wisconsin

--

Wis.

Wis.

WIS

WI

Wyoming

--

Wyo.

Wyo.

WYO

WY

Sources: 1831, Table of Post Offices in the United States; 1874 and 1943, United States Official Postal Guide; 6/1963, Postal Bulletin 20368; 10/1963, Post Office Department Publication 59, Abbreviations for Use with ZIP Code.

Promoting ZIP Codes in New York City, 1966
Promoting ZIP Codes in New York City, 1966
To allow space for the ZIP Code in the last line of an address, state names needed to be abbreviated. Previously, the Post Office Department preferred that state names be written in full, to avoid confusion.

HISTORIAN
UNITED STATES POSTAL SERVICE
MAY 2019