Continental United States
The Continental United States is the area of the United States of America comprising the 48 states that are south of Canada and north of Mexico (known as the "lower 48 states") and the state of Alaska.
The Contiguous United States does not include Alaska, the state of Hawaii (as they are Pacific Ocean islands), or any other territories under the control of the United States. Some references erroneously mistake the Continental United States for the Contiguous United States (which consists simply of the lower 48 states).
Alaska is part of the North American continent, meaning it is attached via Canada. However, Alaska is not part of the contiguous continent, because it is not attached directly to the lower 48 states.
Citations[change | change source]
- 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"
Merriam-Webster, Inc. (2003). Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary, 11th ed.. Springfield, Mass.: Merriam-Webster, Inc.. .
- Random House (1991). Random House Webster's College Dictionary. New York: Random House. .
- "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