The Official Nicknames for Residents of Every State
Think you know what the people living in your state are really called? Find out—and learn the nicknames for the residents of the 49 other states.
What’s in a nickname?
Every state has its own unique symbols, like state animal, state flower, and state motto. They all also have official names, called demonyms, that denote natives or inhabitants of that state. The U.S. Government Publishing Office recognizes the following demonyms as the official nicknames for residents of each U.S. state (even though sometimes, those residents would rather use an unofficial nickname). See how all 50 states got their nicknames.
When you’re in the Cotton State, you can call the residents Alabamians. Or you could go with Bammers, Barners, or Blazers, but if you do, you better know which football team they’re pulling for as those names are nicknames for fans and students of the University of Alabama, Auburn University, and the University of Alabama at Birmingham respectively. And as any Alabamian knows, football is practically a religion.
Alaskans live in America’s largest and northernmost state, and they have had that demonym since Alaska was officially proclaimed a state on January 3, 1959. But according to History.com, people have lived in what we now know as Alaska since 10,000 BC. Descendants of those native peoples still live in Alaska today and prefer to be called Alaska Natives or their indigenous names. In fact, Alaska Natives account for more than 15 percent of the population of Alaska. Discover the most iconic book set in every state.
The nickname for residents of Arizona is indeed Arizonans, but the story behind the state’s own nickname is a little more complicated. People have been calling Arizona the Grand Canyon State since the 1930s, and Arizonans gladly embraced it. But in 2009, a fifth-grade girl from California who was doing a project on Arizona couldn’t find any record of an official nickname for the state. She contacted Marshall Trimble, Arizona’s state historian, looking for answers. Trimble was surprised to find that the girl was right; there was no statute that gave Arizona an official nickname. Trimble introduced a bill to fix the oversight, and on Feb. 14, 2011, Arizona’s 99th birthday, it officially became the Grand Canyon State.
Residents of Arkansas, the 25th state to join the United States, are officially nicknamed Arkansans. However, some people living in the state call themselves Arkansawyers, and no, it’s not because they have an affinity for Tom Sawyer. This unofficial demonym comes from the state’s pronunciation. The Quapaws were a Native American tribe living in what is now Arkansas, but a tribe in the Ohio Valley called them the Arkansas, which means “south wind.” French explorers also referred to this tribe as the Arkansas, but around 1811, Captain Zebulon Pike spelled their name “Arkansaw.” The spelling and pronunciation continued to be disputed after Arkansas became part of the United States, until 1881, when the state’s General Assembly declared that the name would be spelled Arkansas, but pronounced “ar-kan-saw.”
California is home to beaches, the Golden Gate Bridge, and, of course, Californians. But these west coast-dwellers also have nicknames based on what part of California they live in (which makes sense, considering the state is more than 163,000 square miles with almost 40 million residents). People living in Los Angeles are Angelenos, Angelinos, or Los Angelans; those in Beverly Hills are called Beverly Hillers; in San Francisco, you’ll find San Franciscans; and people from Livermore, a Bay Area suburb, are affectionately called Livermorons.
You don’t need to be a Coloradan, a resident of Colorado, to know that the state is known for its grand mountains and a climate perfect for winter sports. But few non-Coloradans know about Bishop’s Castle, found off the beaten path in Rye, Colorado. This roadside-attraction-turned-wedding-destination is the largest self-built castle in the United States, according to Atlas Obscura. Hand-built by a man named Jim Bishop, the 16-story castle features three large stained glass windows, ornamental ironwork, and a steel fire-breathing dragon. Check out some of the other coolest secret locations in every state.
Officially, residents of Connecticut are known as Connecticuters. Unofficially, they are called Nutmeggers, and yes, it refers to the stuff you put in your eggnog. Early Americans sought after nutmeg, which is actually the pit of a fruit before it’s ground down into the spice, but it was also expensive. Deceitful vendors tried to capitalize on its price tag by selling fake nutmeg that was made out of wood. According to Connecticut state legend, some of its residents shrewdly sold these wooden nutmegs. Another story says that Connecticut peddlers sold real nutmeg, but southern buyers didn’t know the pits had to be ground down to make the spice and accused Connecticuters of selling fake goods.
Residents of Delaware have a lot to be proud of. Not only are they called Delawareans, which is an incredibly fun word to say out loud, but they also live in the first state of the modern United States. You may remember from history class that the first colony in Colonial America was in Jamestown, Virginia. The rest of the original 13 colonies followed over the next 125 years, including the Delaware colony in 1638. But on December 7, 1787, it ratified the U.S. Constitution, effectively making the first American state. Speaking of, don’t miss these 15 interesting facts and figures about the Constitution.
The official nickname for people living in Florida is Floridians, and about 21.3 million of them live in the Sunshine State. What’s ironic is that the state hosts more tourists than actual residents every year. In 2018, 126.1 million people visited Florida. That’s almost six times more than the state’s population. While many visitors come for famed tourist attractions like Disney World, Universal Studios, and Sea World, some of the state’s more relaxed, picturesque sites get overlooked—and Floridians want to keep it that way. These are the best Florida beaches locals want to keep secret.
People living in the U.S. state of Georgia are officially known as Georgians, which could hardly be confused with a demonym for residents of any other American state. For world travelers, however, it could pose some confusion, considering that residents of the country Georgia are also called Georgians. While the American state was named after King George II of England, the country’s name supposedly comes from the Russian word “Gruzia,” which was derived from Persian and Turkish translations of the name George, Slate reports. Find out what every state is best—and worst—at.
Not everyone who lives in Hawaii is called a Hawaiian. That demonym is reserved for people who are descendants of Native Hawaiians. People living in Hawaii but are not of native descent are officially known as Hawaii residents, but they are also simply called “locals.” Another unofficial name for Hawaii residents is “kama’aina.” According to Maui Magazine, this literally means, “I am a child of that which feeds me,” but it is also defined as “native-born,” or “child of the land.” Learn the true meanings behind these 9 other popular Hawaiian phrases.
Idaho is home to Idahoans, and there are more than 1.7 million of them. While it may not be the most populous American state, it is the fastest-growing state, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. Idaho’s population grew by an estimated 2.1 percent between July 2017 and July 2018. Since 2010, the population has grown 12 percent. So why do so many more people want to become Idahoans? Perhaps they want easy access to the state’s famed potatoes, or maybe they discovered the breathtaking sights and fun attractions of Silver Mountain, which should be on every traveler’s bucket list. Check out these other fun bucket list ideas for all 50 states.
An estimated 12.7 million Illinoisans live in Illinois, and more than 2.7 million of them are Chicagoans living in Chicago, the third-largest city in the United States. Illinoisans have a lot to be proud of, from their delicious deep dish pizza to their state’s contribution to Abraham Lincoln’s political career. However, they have had their fair share of negative press. Many assume Chicago got its nickname, “The Windy City,” because of windy weather, but when reporters from the Chicago Daily Tribune first used the term, they were calling Chicago’s residents “windbags” who lacked morals. Well, the joke’s on them now—Chicago was recently named the best city in America.
The next state on our list is Indiana, but the demonym for people who live in this state doesn’t follow the same trend as the others we’ve covered so far. Indiana’s official nickname is the Hoosier State, and since 2017, the official nickname for Indiana residents has been Hoosiers. What exactly is a Hoosier? The answer is a bit complicated because no one really knows. Even as early as 1833, an Ohio newspaper defined Hoosier—then spelled Hooshier—simply as “an inhabitant of our sister state of Indiana.” They may not know where their name came from, but Hoosiers still carry the proud sentiment first spelled out by that newspaper centuries ago: “Whatever may have been the original acceptation of Hooshier this we know, that the people to whom it is now applied, are amongst the bravest, most intelligent, most enterprising, most magnanimous, and most democratic of the Great West.” Find out the most historic landmark in every state.
Since Hoosiers live in the Hoosier State, one would think that Hawkeyes would live in the Hawkeye State. However, that is not how the U.S. Government Publishing Office refers to residents of Iowa. Instead, they are simply known as Iowans, named for their state and the Native American tribe called the Ioway that once inhabited that area. While Iowa may be overlooked as a flyover state, there’s at least one reason it shouldn’t be: You could get paid to move there.
When Dorothy said, “Toto, I’ve a feeling we’re not in Kansas anymore,” she certainly wasn’t surrounded by her fellow Kansans, the official demonym for people living in Kansas. That line from The Wizard of Oz drew a lot of attention to Kansas and Kansans, and it also showed the world that Kansas was a place of comfort and security. Kansas is also known for its nicknames, the Sunflower State, the Wheat State, and the Jayhawk State. Learn 56 weird and wonderful facts about the Wizard of Oz.
People who live in Kentucky are officially known as Kentuckians. The state itself is said to have gotten its name from a Native American word for “plain” or “prairie.” While this may accurately describe the topography of Kentucky, it surely isn’t the right word for the state’s culture or people. Some of the most famous Kentuckians include Daniel Boone, Abraham Lincoln, Muhammad Ali, and George Clooney. For a true Kentuckian shindig, look no further than the Kentucky Derby.
From New Orleans to Shreveport, people who live in Louisiana are officially called Louisianians, although Louisianans is another variation of the demonym. Those 4.6 million Louisianians are a diverse group, including Cajuns, who are descendants of French-speaking Acadians from Canada, and Creoles, whose ethnicities are a mix of French, Spanish, African, Caribbean, and/or Indian. The Cajun language is still spoken today throughout the state. One of the most famous phrases is “laissez les bon temps rouler,” which means, “Let the good times roll.”
Tourists may vacation in Maine to get a taste of its famed lobster, but Mainers are lucky enough to have it whenever they please. Maine’s lobster season is actually year-round, but late summer and fall are considered “peak season,” when hard- and soft-shell lobsters are available. In 2018, thousands of Maine lobstermen collectively caught more than 119 million pounds of lobster. The Maine Department of Marine Resources valued that catch at more than $484.5 million. If you’re a Mainer who isn’t a lobsterman, maybe it’s time to consider a career change. Find out the most delicious food from every state.
Maryland is home to more than 6 million Marylanders. Some of the most famous Marylanders include Francis Scott Key, the composer of the National Anthem, the abolitionist Frederick Douglass, and author Edgar Allen Poe. A little known fact about Marylanders is that a good number of them are actually millionaires. Maryland has the highest number of millionaires per capita compared to the other 49 states; one in 12 households has at least $1 million.
Officially, residents of Massachusetts are known as Massachusettsans, but according to Boston.com, no one from Massachusetts actually uses that demonym. In fact, under Massachusetts state law, citizens are known as Bay Staters. The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines Bay Stater as “a native or resident of Massachusetts.” Massachusettsan is not included in that dictionary. Those living in Boston simply refer to themselves as Bostonians, which is arguably the most elegant sounding of all Massachusetts-related demonyms. Find out the most historic first from every state.
Here we have yet another instance of an official demonym that the general public does not necessarily agree with. The U.S. Government Publishing Office names Michiganians as the demonym for Michigan, but Michigan residents will tell you that they’re Michiganders through and through. They feel so strongly about it that in November 2017, the Michigan state Legislature unanimously passed a bill that made Michigander the official term for the residents of Michigan. When it comes to the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, also known as the U.P., those residents are lovingly known as Yoopers. See if you can guess these states from their nicknames.
Minnesota, the “Land of 10,000 Lakes,” is home to 5.5 million Minnesotans. For many Minnesotans, Minnesota remains their home for their entire lives. An estimated 68 percent of Minnesotans were also born in the state. That’s the twelfth-highest percentage of any state. In Morrison County specifically, nearly 90 percent of current residents were born in Minnesota. But the state is home to more than just loyal residents. Roughly 12,000 common loons, the state bird, live in Minnesota. There are more loons in Minnesota than in any other state, except Alaska. See if you can guess the official state bird of all 50 states.
People living Mississippi, nicknamed the Magnolia State, are themselves nicknamed Mississippians. Their state is named after the Mississippi River, which comes from the Ojibwa tribe word “messipi,” which means “big river.” A number of surprising inventions came out of this state, all thanks to Mississippians. Edward Adolf Barq, Sr. invented root beer in Biloxi in 1898. Chemist Harry A. Cole invented the cleaning product Pine-Sol near Jackson in 1929. And although Coca-Cola was invented in Atlanta, it wasn’t bottled until Joseph Biedenharn decided to do so in 1894—in Vicksburg, Mississippi. Here are more of the most famous inventions from every state.
Missourian is the official demonym for someone who lives in Missouri. Not only does their state have an official bird (the bluebird), flower (the white hawthorn blossom), and dessert (the ice cream cone), but it is also one of 12 states with an official horse. The Missouri fox trotting horse became Missouri’s state horse on June 4, 2002. First bred in Missouri in the 19th century, these horses are known for their rhythmic gait; they walk with their front legs and trot with their back legs.
Montana is the fourth largest state in the United States, but with a population of just over a million Montanans, it’s the state with the 44th largest population. In addition to those Montanans, the state is also home to approximately 100 species of mammals, more than any other state. Those animals include elk, bighorn sheep, caribou, and bobcats. Find out the strangest animal found in every state.
People who live in Nebraska are officially called Nebraskans, but you’ll also hear them referred to as Cornhuskers, after the University of Nebraska-Lincoln football team. When the Cornhuskers’ football stadium, Memorial Stadium, is full to capacity—it holds more than 90,000 people—it actually becomes the third most populated place in the state. The first two are Omaha with 434,000 people and the state capital, Lincoln, with 268,000. Think you can name the capitals for other states? Take our state capitals quiz and find out.
The name for people who live in or are from Nevada, the Silver State, are called Nevadans. There are approximately 3 million Nevadans residing in the state, and about half of them live in the Las Vegas metropolitan area. However, tourists have Nevadans beat when it comes to Las Vegas numbers. In 2018, more than 42 million people visited Sin City. That’s 14 times the population of the entire state. Find out the best hotel in every state according to customers.
New Hampshire has come a long way since it was one of the original 13 colonies. An estimated 500 people lived in the colony in 1630, and the state now has a population of more than 1.3 million. All New Hampshirites, no matter where they live, should feel a special kind of patriotism. In 1775, their state became the first to declare independence from England. Plus, Alan Shepard, the first American to go into space, was born in New Hampshire. Check out these other facts about America you never learned in school.
People who live in or come from New Jersey are known as New Jerseyans, and nearly 9 million of them live in the Garden State. New Jersey got its nickname from Abraham Browning, who said the state was an “immense barrel, filled with good things to eat and open at both ends, with Pennsylvanians grabbing from one end and New Yorkers from the other.” Ben Franklin is said to have also called New Jersey a barrel tapped at both ends. Find out the most historic town in every state.
Just as people from Mexico are called Mexicans, people living in New Mexico are called New Mexicans. The only exception is for residents who are descendants of early Spanish settlers of New Mexico, who are called Hispanos. New Mexicans get to enjoy warm weather year-round, with their coldest average temperatures in the mid-50s and average hottest temperatures in the 90s. Don’t miss the strangest fact about every U.S. state.
New Yorkers are people who live in New York City or anywhere else in the state of New York, and they’re not afraid to show it. There’s a certain pride that comes with being a New Yorker that few demonyms can rival. After all, not everyone can survive in a city of traffic jams, subway delays, and crowded sidewalks. But while many people hear “New Yorker” and think “New York City,” there’s a lot to be said for the rest of the state, from Niagara Falls and the Adirondack Mountains to wineries and museums. If you decide to become a temporary New Yorker for your next vacation, don’t miss these hidden gems most New Yorkers don’t know about.
North Carolinians live in the 12th state to officially join the United States, and there are more than 10 million of them. Back in 1587, the first child of English descent born in America was born in what we now know as North Carolina. Her name was Virginia Dare, and she belonged to the “Lost Colony” of English colonists who mysteriously disappeared from Roanoke Island. Don’t miss the most historic attraction in every state.
People who live in or are from North Dakota are known as North Dakotans. Their state is a perfect place to escape from city life and embrace nature. Nearly 90 percent of North Dakota’s land is farms or ranches, and the state has 63 wildlife refuges, which is more than any other state. North Dakota is also the number one honey producer in America, so if you visit, be sure to ask the locals where you can get a taste. Find out the one food you have to try from every state.
The official demonym for Ohio residents is Ohioans, but many locals refer to themselves as Buckeyes. It is called the Buckeye State, after all. A buckeye is a shiny brown nut that comes from the buckeye tree and is said to bring good luck. It was first used to describe a person in 1788, when Native Americans greeted 6-foot-4 Col. Ebenezer Sproat by saying, “Hetuck, hetuck,” their native word for buckeye, because they were impressed by his stature. The nickname stuck with Sproat and was passed on to other settlers and, later, Ohio residents. Find out how every state in America got its name.
Not many Americans can say there’s a Broadway musical named after their home, but Oklahomans sure can. Oklahoma! was the first musical written by famed composer duo Rodgers and Hammerstein, and there’s a reason it starts with the song, “Oh, What a Beautiful Mornin’.” With average high temperatures in the low 70s and average low temperatures in the 40s, Oklahomans have an ideal Goldilocks climate: not too hot, not too cold, but just right.
There’s some confusion over the proper pronunciation of the state Oregon. Oregonians, the people who actually live there, call it, “ORE-uh-gin,” so the last syllable sounds like “begin.” Americans who live pretty much anywhere else say, “ORE-uh-GONE.” But that’s not the only American location that causes pronunciation confusion. Here are more place names you’ve been pronouncing all wrong.
Pennsylvania has a storied history that Pennsylvanians know all too well. Its namesake is William Penn, the Quaker settler who founded the colony; King Charles II of England named it Pennsylvania, meaning “Penn’s Woods.” The Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution were both signed in Independence Hall in Philadelphia. Abraham Lincoln delivered one of the most famous speeches ever given in Gettysburg. There’s one thing most people get wrong about Pennsylvania, though. Many assume the Battle of Gettysburg was the deadliest day in American military history. That record actually goes to the Battle of Antietam in Maryland, where more than 3,500 Union and Confederate soldiers are believed to have died. Read up on these other U.S. state facts everyone gets wrong.
Rhode Island may be the smallest state in America, but it’s actually not the least populated. There are over a million Rhode Islanders living within the state’s 1,214 square miles. Rhode Island has a few other surprises up its sleeve. The state’s official name is actually Rhode Island and Providence Plantations. It’s not divided up into counties, instead having 39 municipalities with their own local government. Rhode Island is also home to the oldest schoolhouse in the United States. Located in Portsmouth, the school was built in 1716. See if you can guess the one letter that’s not in any state name.
Residents of South Carolina are officially known as South Carolinians, and they have something in common with the characters in the movie Footloose. Yes, there’s an old South Carolina law that says it’s illegal to dance…on Sundays. Plus, any South Carolinians running a dance hall could technically spend 30 days in jail. A couple of these outdated laws aren’t all that bad. One says it’s illegal to challenge someone to a gun or sword fight, and another outlaws working on Sundays. Don’t miss the other dumbest laws in America.
Just like the demonym for North Dakota, the official nickname for people who live in South Dakota is South Dakotans. They’re a special bunch, especially considering only around 882,000 of them live in the state. However, a few South Dakotans went on to make it big in their careers. Longtime The Price Is Right host Bob Barker spent most of his childhood in South Dakota. Baseball player and manager George “Sparky” Anderson was the first South Dakotan to be enshrined at the Baseball Hall of Fame. He led the Cincinnati Reds and the Detroit Tigers to World Series wins.
Tennesseans, people who live in or are from Tennessee, are often pictured as cowboys line-dancing in a honky-tonk or singers trying to make it big in the Nashville country music scene. As important as that country culture is to Tennesseans, there’s more to them than that. They’re also some of the nicest people in the country. In fact, for two years in a row, the winner of the Reader’s Digest Nicest Place in America contest was from Tennessee: the city of Gallatin in 2017 and Yassin’s Falafel House in Knoxville in 2018.
The official demonym for residents of Texas is Texans. The Lone Star State has a population of 28.7 million Texans, making it the second-most populous state in the U.S. Texas’s population has grown steadily since 2010, especially among minority groups. The U.S. Census Bureau estimates that Hispanics will make up the largest population group of Texans by as soon as 2022. The number of Asian Texans has grown by almost 50 percent since 2010, the Texas Tribune reports.
The U.S. Government Publishing Office lists the official nickname for residents of Utah as Utahns—but it wasn’t always that way. According to KSL Broadcasting in Salt Lake City, the government office used to list the demonym for Utah’s residents as Utahans, even though locals strongly preferred and continued to widely use Utahns instead. The officials in the publishing office eventually changed the listing to the easier-to-say Utahns. If you think “Utahans” is a mouthful, wait until you read the most difficult-to-pronounce town in every state.
Vermonter is the official demonym for a resident of Vermont or someone who was born in the state. Many Vermonters, however, give this word an even stricter definition, saying that it only applies to natives of Vermont. Visitors or Vermont residents who were born elsewhere are given nicknames with a more negative connotation, like “flatlanders” or “transplants.” The website Vermonter.com explains the term “flatlander” as “a person who visits the state or lives here that brings negative qualities from their home to our state… Unfortunately for the flatlander, even if they assimilate to Vermont culture and reside here for 50 years, they can never rid themselves of this label.”
The official nickname for people born in or residents of Virginia is Virginians. Now home to more than 8.5 million Virginians, the state has come a long way since its colonial days. When the colony of Jamestown, Virginia, was founded in 1607, only about 100 people lived there. That number quickly dwindled; by 1610, 80 to 90 percent of the settlers died from disease or starvation. But once they began to use a new strain of tobacco as a cash crop, they were able to get the funds the settlement needed thrive as a permanent English colony. Virginians and tourists alike can still visit Jamestown today. Here are more of the best American cities for history buffs.
The approximately 7.5 million Washingtonians who live in the state of Washington already know the special sights and features their state offers, but for non-Washingtonians, here’s just a sampling: Washington produces more apples, pears, red raspberries, and sweet cherries than any other state. The San Juan Islands, located off the coast of Washington state, includes 172 named islands and reefs, but at low tide, there can be as many as 450 islands. Plus, Washington’s Yakima Valley produces more than 75 percent of hops grown in the United States. Find out the best craft beer from every state.
Fans of John Denver’s song “Take Me Home, Country Roads” will remember than the lyrics describe West Virginia as “almost heaven.” Well, West Virginians probably wouldn’t argue with that. They’d use the breathtaking sights of the Eastern Panhandle or the Mountain Lakes to prove their point. Once part of Virginia, the state was named to honor Queen Elizabeth I, the “Virgin Queen.” It later separated from Virginia when residents decided to stay with the Union during the Civil War.
People who live in or were born in Wisconsin are officially known as Wisconsinites, but they also proudly go by Cheeseheads. This nickname is a nod to Wisconsin’s dairy industry, but it originated as an insult. According to Milwaukee Magazine, some Chicago Bears fans tried to mock Green Bay Packers fans after the Bears won the 1986 Super Bowl by calling them “Cheeseheads.” Instead, Packers fan and Milwaukee native Ralph Bruno took it as a compliment. Bruno decided to make his own cheese-head hat out of a couch cushion and wore it to a Milwaukee Brewers game. The hat garnered so much attention that Bruno decided to start selling them. Now, the hats are sold all over Wisconsin and are practically required garb at Lambeau Field.
Last but certainly not least, Wyomingites is the nickname for people hailing from Wyoming. The 44th state is the least populous in America with nearly 578,000 residents. In 1869, female Wyomingites became the first women in the United States who were allowed to vote. State leaders made the law hoping it would encourage more women to move to the state. Next, read up on these 50 astonishing facts you never knew about the 50 states.