The term “contiguous states” refers to the 48 states that are on the North American continent and which are connected without being split by a body of water or another country. The land mass of the contiguous United States is very huge, one of the largest in the world. Together, they comprise an area of over 3,100,000 square miles (roughly 8,000,000 square kilometers). It makes up almost 84% of the entire land area of the United States and is roughly the same size as Australia.
Though Alaska is part of the Continental U.S., it is not contiguous because it is separated by Canada. When considered as a country, the contiguous United States is the 5th largest entity in the world. Adding Alaska and Hawaii increases it’s rank to 3rd largest. Brazil is bigger than the contiguous United States, but smaller once you add Alaska and Hawaii. Russia and Canada are the only two countries that are bigger than the entire United States.
The longest distance between two points in the contiguous United States is between Florida and the State of Washington, and measures 2,802 miles. The greatest distance from north to south is 1,650 miles between Minnesota and Texas. According to the 2010 census, the contiguous United States contained 99.33% of the nation’s population and contained a population density of just over 103 people per square mile.
Not including offshore islands, there are several areas that are technically part of the contiguous United States, but are only accessible by traveling through Canada. Point Roberts, Washington; Elm Point, Minnesota; and the “Northwest Angle” in Minnesota are just a few of those places. The town of Alburgh, Vermont is not connected to the U.S. by land, but can be reach by connected bridges within Vermont and New York, and thus one does not need to travel through Canada to reach it.