Relation for United States

I don’t understand why the relation for United States includes it’s territories (American Samoa, Puerto Rico, US Virgin Islands, Northern Mariana Islands and Guam.) Territories are not states. I would think that this relation should include only the 50 States and DC. and then there could be an additional relation that matches the current one for the United States but named something like “United States and Territories”.

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Not sure why not. The residents of those territories are still US citizens.

true. I guess I’m just looking for a term to define just the states. for France there is France which does include its territories and there is Metropolitan France which means continental France and Corsica. would adding a relation called “Continental United States and Hawaii” be a bad thing? I see there Is a relation for Contiguous United States which is another term for The “lower 48”.

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The French and American systems of administrative divisions aren’t exactly comparable. The U.S. minus the parts that aren’t commonly taught in schools doesn’t have a convenient, uniform official status that would form the basis for an administrative boundary relation. The closest named concepts are “contiguous U.S.” (excludes Alaska and Hawaii), “continental U.S.” (excludes Hawaii), and “the 50 states” (excludes D.C.).

Industry standards recognize the U.S. Minor Outlying Islands (excludes Puerto Rico), which is currently tagged as a statistical boundary. So if you’re looking for the 50 states plus D.C., you could do one of the following in whatever you’re doing with OSM data:

  • Add up those 51 administrative boundary relations
  • Add Alaska and Hawaii to the contiguous United States
  • Subtract Puerto Rico and the Minor Outlying Islands from the overall U.S. boundary
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Note that “US Minor Outlying Islands” excludes territories with a large permanent population. So you’d have to subtract the US Virgin Islands, Guam, the Northern Mariana Islands, and American Samoa as well.