Talk:List of U. S. postal abbreviations

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IWBRNI someone could research the history of this set of symbols and add a section to that effect. There should also be a list of Coast Guard state symbols for boat registration; they seem to have been developed about the same time but are not the same (e.g., Maine => MA, Massachusetts => MS, Mississippi => MI, Michigan => MC). I believe the postal series are the ones registered for ISO 3166-2. (I believe, by the way, that the correct term for these is "codes" or "symbols"—not "abbreviations".) 01:08, 5 May 2005 (UTC)[reply]


Does anyone know if there is an organized list of city abbreviations to document here? E.g. "SF" for San Francisco" and "Phila" for Philadelphia? -- Beland 02:12, 2 June 2006 (UTC)[reply]

U.S. Minor Outlying Islands[edit]

Is the code missing for U.S. Minor Outlying Islands (UM)? I believe there should be six codes listed under "Insular Areas": American Samoa, Guam, Northern Mariana Islands, Puerto Rico, U.S. Minor Outlying Islands, and Virgin Islands of the U.S..

The wikipedia page for ISO_3166-2:US lists it.

Other Codes[edit]

I am interested in the "Other Codes". Maybe some one can describe how such codes are used. For instance, how does one address mail to Guam? Is it something like

SomeCity 00000-0000

where Guam is a country? Or is it

SomeCity GU 00000-0000
United States

where "GU" is a state and the country is the U.S.?

Similar info on the armed forces codes would be helpful.

This page lists United States postal codes; the country "United States" is always correct. I'll update the article. [1] —Preceding unsigned comment added by Beland (talkcontribs) 18:50, 3 October 2007 (UTC)[reply]


The methodology section seems a little made up, considering AZ - not the second letter, last letter, or next consonant of Arizona - just a good abbreviation. But then, it wouldn't sound much like an "encyclopedia" if we just said that. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 06:09, 5 December 2007 (UTC)[reply]


A number of abbreviations are listed in both the first/second and first/last lists.

This doesn't indicate a methodology, it's just an observation.

Which approach was actually used to derive the abbreviation?

Furthermore, how was it decided which of the states with potentially the same abbreviations took precedence? For example, why is Alabama AL, not Alaska. It can't be just alpha order (unless someone made a mistake!), otherwise Arizona (not Arkansas) would be AR and Maine (not Massachusetts) would be MA.

--Ant (talk) 18:18, 3 January 2008 (UTC)[reply]

The list of seven states that have the same second and last letter is also confusing... three are on both lists and are asterisked in both places, even though seven states are listed under the asterisk... and MI is on only one list, and both Missouri (MO) and Mississippi (MI) are in the list of seven... altogether, completely baffling. I didn't mess with it though, since I don't really know how precedence works as Ant mentioned above... Personman (talk) 10:19, 27 January 2008 (UTC)[reply]

I agree. This isn't a methodology. In fact, I dont think there was ever a real methodology when the US Postal service came up with their standard state abbreviations other than making sure that the same two letter abbreviations were not reused. However, with that said, it seems that the "general" rule of thumb for figuring out the second letter (except for M states) is as follows: If the state's second letter is a consonant, then use the second letter (except Alaska, and Arizona). If the state's second letter is a vowel, then use the last letter (except w/ states starting with W,N,T). At least, that's generally the way it seems to work.
--Lasloo (talk) 03:20, 4 May 2008 (UTC)[reply]

Maybe this section should actually be called Mnemonics. And if so, I'd add this one I made up recently (please improve upon it):

When figuring out the postal codes of states
The first initial is always the first letter
Those with two words, their initials are mates
For the second initial, let's explain better

For M states, use the 4th
if it has two P's or two N's
otherwise use the 5th
though D is Maryland's

Use the 2nd, if it is not a vowel
including W states and Nebraska
Arizona's Z runs this afoul
including the K for Alaska

If the second is a vowel, the usual effect is
the very last letter it should be
However you should use the 3rd letter for Texas
and for Nevada, and Tennessee

--Lasloo (talk) 03:20, 4 May 2008 (UTC)[reply]