U.S. states are the primary political divisions within the United States of America. There are currently 50 states in the country, each with its distinct geographic boundaries, government, and laws. The states are granted a significant amount of autonomy under the U.S. Constitution, which allows them to govern themselves in many areas, while still being subject to federal law and oversight.
Each state has its constitution and is divided into smaller units called counties or parishes. State governments typically consist of three branches: executive, legislative, and judicial. The executive branch is headed by a governor who is elected by the citizens of the state. The legislative branch is a bicameral system, composed of a Senate and a House of Representatives, except in Nebraska, which has a unicameral legislature. The judicial branch is responsible for interpreting the state’s laws and constitution and consists of a hierarchy of courts, with the state supreme court at the top.
States are represented at the federal level by two senators each, regardless of their population size. In the House of Representatives, states are allocated several representatives based on their population, with a total of 435 representatives distributed among the 50 states.
The states have diverse climates, economies, and cultures. They range in size from the smallest, Rhode Island, to the largest, Alaska, and in population from the least populous, Wyoming, to the most populous, California. The United States is often divided into regions, such as the Northeast, Midwest, South, and West, based on geographic, cultural, and economic factors.