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AP Style for States Abbreviations

March 14, 2015

We live in a rapid news “now” world., What I am seeing, as we move away from traditional media outreach through the use of press releases is that people are forgetting AP style formatting. There is indeed a science and art behind writing a press release. Below is a list of AP Style State abbreviations. So, I am providing a reference for those who may be interested.

Note: AP Style state abbreviations differ from their corresponding US Postal Service abbreviations, are in parentheses.

  • Ala. (AL) — for Alabama
  • Alaska (AK) — this state is not abbreviated in text
  • Ariz. (AZ) — for Arizona
  • Ark. (AR) — for Arkansas
  • Calif. (CA) — for California
  • Colo. (CO) — for Colorado
  • Conn. (CT) — for Connecticut
  • Del. (DE) — for Delaware
  • Fla. (FL) — for Florida
  • Ga. (GA) — for Georgia
  • Hawaii (HI) — this state is not abbreviated in text
  • Idaho (ID) — this state is not abbreviated in text
  • Ill. (IL) — for Illinois
  • Ind. (IN) — for Indiana
  • Iowa (IA) — this state is not abbreviated in text
  • Kan. (KS) — for Kansas
  • Ky. (KY) — for Kentucky
  • La. (LA) — for Louisiana
  • Maine (ME) — this state is not abbreviated in text
  • Md. (MD) — for Maryland
  • Mass. (MA) — for Massachusetts
  • Mich (MI) — for Michigan
  • Minn. (MN) — for Minnesota
  • Miss. (MS) — for Mississippi
  • Mo. (MO) — for Missouri
  • Mont. (MT) — for Montana
  • Neb. (NE) — for Nebraska
  • Nev. (NV) — for Nevada
  • N.H. (NH) — for New Hampshire
  • N.J. (NJ) — for New Jersey
  • N.M. (NM) — for New Mexico
  • N.Y. (NY) — for New York
  • N.C. (NC) — for North Carolina
  • N.D. (ND) — for North Dakota
  • Ohio (OH) — this state is not abbreviated in text
  • Okla. (OK) — for Oklahoma
  • Ore. (OR) — for Oregon
  • Pa. (PA) — for Pennsylvania
  • R.I. (RI) — for Rhode Island
  • S.C. (SC) — for South Carolina
  • S.D. (SD) — for South Dakota
  • Tenn. (TN) — for Tennessee
  • Texas (TX) — this state is not abbreviated in text
  • Utah (UT) — this state is not abbreviated in text
  • Vt. (VT) — for Vermont
  • Va. (VA) — for Virginia
  • Wash. (WA) — for Washington
  • W. Va. (WV) — for West Virginia
  • Wis. (WI) — for Wisconsin
  • Wyo. (WY) — for Wyoming
  • Also: District of Columbia (DC)

Here’s an example of how to abbreviate a state in a sentence using AP style:

In Detroit, Mich., the weather today is sunny and warm. 

And, here is how to use a city (and state) in the dateline.

DETROIT, March 14, 2015 –

Remember that, in datelines, the city name is in all capital letters. If necessary, follow it with the state abbreviation –– not the U.S. postal code.(For example: KANSAS CITY, Kan. or KANSAS CITY, Mo.)

However, these states are always spelled out: Alaska, Hawaii, Idaho, Iowa, Maine, Ohio, Texas and Utah.

The following list are US domestic cities that stand alone, with no state abbreviation.







*On a regional level, additional cities may stand alone should the newspaper staff decide so.

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