What Is the Smallest State in the USA? Looking at Area and Population

By: Yara Simón  | 
Red toy car on a map of the United States
A road trip to the smallest state by land area would take you to a much different part of the country than a road trip to the smallest state by population. savaseris / Getty Images

Coming in at 665,384 sq mi (1,717,856 sq km), Alaska is the largest state in the United States. But by other metrics, you can also consider Alaska one of the smallest. When looking at the smallest state in the U.S.A., you can consider different factors, including land area and population size.

Here is a breakdown of the smallest US states.


5 Smallest U.S. States by Land Area

The United States is 3.8 million sq mi (9.8 million sq km) big, unevenly distributed among 50 states. Here are the five smallest states by square miles, listed in ascending size.

1. Rhode Island

Rhode Island's land area measures 1,033.6 sq mi (2,677 sq km), making it smaller than the Grand Canyon (1,904 sq mi or 4,931 sq km). Nicknamed the Ocean State, Rhode Island is 37 miles (59.5 km) wide and 48 miles (77.2 km) long.


2. Delaware

Delaware, known for its diverse geography, has a land area of 1,948 sq mi (5,045.3 sq km). The capital city is Dover, the second-most populous city in the state, behind Wilmington. Delaware's state dog is rescue dogs.

3. Connecticut

Bordering New York sits one of the smallest states: Connecticut. The New England state is 5,018 sq mi (13,023 sq km), 4,841.1 sq. mi (12,539.2 sq km) of which are land area; the rest is water area.

There are 21 cities, 169 towns and eight counties in Connecticut. The state was the home of Charles Goodyear and Eli Whitney. The state's website says it is also where you can find "the best pizza in the world."

4. Hawaii

Hawaii's land area measures in at 6,420.7 sq mi (16,629.5 sq km). Located in the north central Pacific Ocean, the state is not part of the contiguous United States. Full of natural beauty, the fourth smallest state boasts a diverse landscape.

5. New Jersey

On the other side of New York is New Jersey, which is 8,719 sq mi (22,582.11 sq km), according to the US Census Bureau. The state has 7,352.9 sq mi (19,043.9 sq km) of land area and sits next to the Atlantic Ocean, with 127 miles of coastline. It is also part of the Coastal Plains ecoregion, along with states like Florida and parts of Texas.

Jersey may not be winning any prizes when it comes to land area size, but the state can say it has more horses per square mile when compared to other states.


5 Smallest U.S. States by Population

While California — one of the largest states by area — has one of the biggest populations, the smallest states by land area do not necessarily have the smallest populations. Here are the five least-populated states, listed in ascending order.

1. Wyoming

Wyoming has the smallest population size, with an estimated 584,057 people, according to the U.S. Census. While it may be the least populated, Wyoming is home to expansive plains, the Rocky Mountains and Yellowstone.


2. Vermont

The state, located in the Northeast, has an estimated population of 647,464. The state has crystal clear lakes like Lake Willoughby in Westmore. Out of the more than 800 lakes in the state, about 28 percent of them are more than 20 acres (8.1 hectares).

3. Alaska

Alaska, which is also not part of the continental United States, has beautiful landscapes. It also has a small population (an estimated 733,406) and a low population density. In 2019, Alaska had an average of 0.8 people per square mile (excluding Anchorage).

4. North Dakota

With about 783,926 people, North Dakota has one of the lowest populations in the country. One of its previous nicknames was the Flickertail State, referring to the many squirrels that live in the state. However, a 1953 legislative assembly decided not to officially adopt the nickname.

5. South Dakota

At less than 1 million people (about 919,318), South Dakota is the fifth smallest state by population size. The state's website describes South Dakota as "all about the outdoors," and with 13 state parks and the 109-mile Mickelson Trail, there is certainly plenty to do in nature.