US States Ranked By Statehood Date

The United States of America is a federal republic in North America made up of 50 states. 48 of the 50 states are located within the continent’s middle latitude and collectively known as contiguous states. The other two states, Alaska and Hawaii, are located in the Mid-Pacific Ocean. The contiguous states are bounded by Mexico and the Gulf of Mexico on the south, east by the Atlantic Ocean, north by Canada, and west by the Pacific Ocean. Besides the 50 states, the US has dependencies or overseas territories, some of which have expressed the desire to gain statehood.

Functions

Declaration of Independence
John Trumbull's painting, Declaration of Independence, being represented to the Congress.

In just over 240 years since the signing of the Declaration of Independence, America has grown from the original 13 states (previously known as Thirteen British Colonies) to the 50 individual states. The states are the main subdivision of the US and share powers with the federal government. While the federal government is in charge of the country’s overall welfare, the state governments are concerned with local state issues, including constructing and maintaining non-federal roads, elections, public or local school policies, and provision of basic services. Each state is guided by both the federal and state constitution, with each state having a unique state constitution.

Representation

At the national level, all 50 states are represented in a bicameral parliament known as Congress. The US Congress comprises the Senate or upper chambers and the House of Representatives, also known as the Lower House. Each state elects two senators to the Senate and at least one Representative to the House, depending on the state’s population. However, the total membership to the House is capped at 435. Moreover, each state participates in the presidential election through the Electoral College. The states are assigned EC votes depending on the number of their representatives (Senators and Reps) in the Congress.

History

Thirteen colonies
Map of the original 13 colonies.

Although the Thirteen Colonies became states in 1776 upon the Declaration of Independence, the statehood dates for all 50 states vary. Stories behind the statehoods are filled with diplomatic negotiations and compromises, battles, and a desire for freedom and democracy by the citizens. The first 13 states gained statehood between 1787 and 1790 through the ratification of the US Constitution, while the other 37 states joined the Union through admission. Through the New States Clause (Admission to the Union) of the US Constitution, the US Congress has powers to admit territories into the Union as new states. However, Congress cannot form new states out of existing ones.

First States

Delaware, also known as “The First State,” was the first to ratify the 1787 Constitution, doing so on December 7, 1787, and becoming the first state to gain statehood. It was followed by Pennsylvania five days later and New Jersey on December 18, 1787. Georgia, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Maryland, South Carolina, New Hampshire, Virginia, and New York were all admitted into the Union on various dates between January and July 1788. Sixteen states had been admitted to the Union by the end of the 18th century. Alaska (January 3, 1959) and Hawaii (August 21, 1959) are the latest states to be admitted to the Union. 

No. State Date(admitted or ratified) Formed From
1  Delaware December 7, 1787(ratified) Colony of Delaware
2  Pennsylvania December 12, 1787(ratified) Proprietary Province of Pennsylvania
3  New Jersey December 18, 1787(ratified) Crown Colony of New Jersey
4  Georgia January 2, 1788(ratified) Crown Colony of Georgia
5  Connecticut January 9, 1788(ratified) Crown Colony of Connecticut
6  Massachusetts February 6, 1788(ratified) Crown Colony of Massachusetts Bay
7  Maryland April 28, 1788(ratified) Proprietary Province of Maryland
8  South Carolina May 23, 1788(ratified) Crown Colony of South Carolina
9  New Hampshire June 21, 1788(ratified) Crown Colony of New Hampshire
10  Virginia June 25, 1788(ratified) Crown Colony and Dominion of Virginia
11  New York July 26, 1788(ratified) Crown Colony of New York
12  North Carolina November 21, 1789(ratified) Crown Colony of North Carolina
13  Rhode Island May 29, 1790(ratified) Crown Colony of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations
14  Vermont March 4, 1791(admitted) Vermont Republic
15  Kentucky June 1, 1792(admitted) Virginia (nine counties in its District of Kentucky)
16  Tennessee June 1, 1796(admitted) Southwest Territory
17  Ohio March 1, 1803(admitted) Northwest Territory (part)
18  Louisiana April 30, 1812(admitted) Territory of Orleans
19  Indiana December 11, 1816(admitted) Indiana Territory
20  Mississippi December 10, 1817(admitted) Mississippi Territory
21  Illinois December 3, 1818(admitted) Illinois Territory (part)
22  Alabama December 14, 1819(admitted) Alabama Territory
23  Maine March 15, 1820(admitted) Massachusetts (District of Maine)
24  Missouri August 10, 1821(admitted) Missouri Territory (part)
25  Arkansas June 15, 1836[27](admitted) Arkansas Territory
26  Michigan January 26, 1837[28](admitted) Michigan Territory
27  Florida March 3, 1845(admitted) Florida Territory
28  Texas December 29, 1845(admitted) Republic of Texas
29  Iowa December 28, 1846(admitted) Iowa Territory (part)
30  Wisconsin May 29, 1848(admitted) Wisconsin Territory (part)
31  California September 9, 1850(admitted) Unorganized territory / Mexican Cession (part)
32  Minnesota May 11, 1858(admitted) Minnesota Territory (part)
33  Oregon February 14, 1859(admitted) Oregon Territory (part)
34  Kansas January 29, 1861(admitted) Kansas Territory (part)
35  West Virginia June 20, 1863(admitted) Virginia (50 Trans-Allegheny region counties)
36  Nevada October 31, 1864(admitted) Nevada Territory
37  Nebraska March 1, 1867(admitted) Nebraska Territory
38  Colorado August 1, 1876(admitted) Colorado Territory
39  North Dakota November 2, 1889(admitted) Dakota Territory (part)
40  South Dakota November 2, 1889(admitted) Dakota Territory (part)
41  Montana November 8, 1889(admitted) Montana Territory
42  Washington November 11, 1889(admitted) Washington Territory
43  Idaho July 3, 1890(admitted) Idaho Territory
44  Wyoming July 10, 1890(admitted) Wyoming Territory
45  Utah January 4, 1896(admitted) Utah Territory
46  Oklahoma November 16, 1907(admitted) Oklahoma Territory and Indian Territory
47  New Mexico January 6, 1912(admitted) New Mexico Territory
48  Arizona February 14, 1912(admitted) Arizona Territory
49  Alaska January 3, 1959(admitted) Territory of Alaska
50  Hawaii August 21, 1959(admitted) Territory of Hawaii
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