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Ten Most Rectangular U.S. States

Which U.S. states appear to be the most rectangular on an unrotated Mercator projection map?
Rounded to the nearest tenth of a percent.
Read comments for methodology
Quiz by Quizmaster
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Last updated: December 12, 2020
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First submittedDecember 12, 2020
Times taken40,743
Average score80.0%
Rating4.46
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%
State
100
Colorado
100
Wyoming
97.7
Kansas
97.4
North Dakota
96.8
New Mexico
%
State
94.8
Pennsylvania
93.5
South Dakota
90.9
Utah
90.9
Oregon
90.8
Arizona
+40
Level ∞
Dec 12, 2020
I manually calculated these in Inkscape. The number is based on how much land you would have to add or subtract from the state to make it into a perfect, unrotated, rectangle.
+45
Level ∞
Dec 12, 2020
Technically Colorado is not a rectangle. It actually has 697 sides. But it looks like a rectangle when you zoom out far enough. Wyoming also has extra sides.
+30
Level ∞
Mar 15, 2021
p.s. Thank you to all the rectangle truthers who want to debate that a different state is actually more rectangular based on feels.
+13
Level 55
Dec 12, 2020
Wow! Interesting that PA is over SD. PA looks less rectangular on a large scale. And 697 sides for Colorado! Does it own exclaves or something?
+1
Level 51
Dec 12, 2020
Even on the Mercator projection?!
+10
Level 90
Dec 12, 2020
Or something... You can't put a rectangle on a globe, nor on an uneven surface (mountains). Colorado's boundaries were originally defined along lines of longitude and latitude, but after much surveying, its boundaries are now defined by 697 survey markers, connected by straight lines.
+15
Level ∞
Dec 12, 2020
This is correct.

Some people claim that the "Four Corners" monument is actually in the wrong place by a couple miles because the survey markers on the state borders don't align perfectly with the straight lines which were originally intended.

However, at some point, the official borders were changed to be defined by the survey markers. As a result, the official borders of these western states are not perfectly straight. The Four Corners monument is, by definition, in the right place.

+4
Level 75
Dec 13, 2020
I don't know if it's similar, but on the Manitoba-Saskatchewan border, there are "correction lines." With north-south borders, you'd have to choose between straight lines that pay no attention to one-mile roads, or do this. This is done even beyond the prairies and their one-mile roads. Thus, to get to Saskatchewan from Flin Flon, Manitoba, you typically go south.
+5
Level 59
Jan 13, 2021
When talking about the American-Canadian border it also has hundreds of individuals sides/lines because they were basically marking off most of North America without knowing where to go other than due west. So while the border is on a parallel, the actual markers can be as off as a few hundred yards. (Likely no more than a kilometer)
+6
Level 64
Mar 15, 2021
Every time I zoom in on the Manitoba-Saskatchewan border, it freaks me out.
+1
Level 45
Jan 12, 2023
I can't find this jump on OpenStreetMap :/
+1
Level 71
Mar 15, 2021
Wow, Pennsylvania? I didn't expect my state to be on here. In supposed it is pretty rectangular, but it also has such a jagged border. With QuizMaster's methodology though, I suppose it makes sense.
+13
Level 93
Dec 12, 2020
Interesting. Utah looks like two rectangles melded together but I didn't consider the entirety as resembling a rectangle. I would have thought Connecticut comes closer to a complete rectangle with the exception of the "tail" on the lower west side.
+1
Level 64
Mar 15, 2021
If the list were expanded so that it could include Connecticut, that would add a fun challenge.
+1
Level 78
Mar 15, 2021
Connecticut's panhandle does extend pretty far south relative to the eastern part of the state (about 25 miles) which is quite a bit for such a small state.
+4
Level 68
Dec 18, 2020
How close is Connecticut?
+4
Level ∞
Jan 24, 2021
If I remember correctly it was in the low 80s.
+7
Level 66
Mar 15, 2021
You could do states most like a peanut (still in the shell). New Jersey would certainly be #1.
+1
Level 64
Dec 18, 2023
fire quiz idea
+5
Level 58
Mar 15, 2021
How on earth is Utah more rectangular than Connecticut or Rhode Island?
+1
Level 18
Mar 15, 2021
How is Utah rectangular
+2
Level 73
Jan 10, 2023
It's, um, shaped like a rectangle with a small bite out of the northwest?
+3
Level 18
Mar 15, 2021
Also, I took 1 minute trying to spell Pennsylvania
+1
Level 64
Dec 18, 2023
i took 1:01 minutes
+1
Level 37
Mar 15, 2021
Colorado is probably upwards of 99% square, but not 100%.

Take a look at the state border south of Chromo, CO. ;)

+3
Level 59
Mar 15, 2021
take a look at the stickied comment ;)
+3
Level 57
Mar 15, 2021
Probably close to 99.99 which rounds up to 100%
+2
Level 62
Mar 15, 2021
A fun idea, good one. Course, you know what you've started now; next it'll be "Least heptagonal European countries" or something.
+1
Level 79
Mar 15, 2021
I'm surprised Connecticut didn't beat out Pennsylvania
+1
Level 46
Mar 15, 2021
Really expected Nebraska, lol.
+1
Level 75
Mar 15, 2021
Just curious - which state is least rectangular? Hawaii?
+1
Level 67
Mar 15, 2021
Probably Alaska with that tail
+2
Level 78
Mar 15, 2021
Florida has a pretty big tail, Michigan is pretty spread out, Texas has quite a difference between the top of the panhandle and Brownsville with a large amount of the Gulf of Mexico cutting out more of the eastern portion of the state, Idaho is very wide at the bottom and narrow at the top, and Maryland and West Virginia are both oddly shaped with various panhandles. I would also think the Aleutians extending for over 800 miles past where Wales, Alaska would be if it were on the islands (Wales is northwest of Nome but if you drew a line down to the Aleutians, Attu Island is about 800 miles west of this point).
+2
Level ∞
Mar 15, 2021
Almost certainly Hawaii.
+1
Level 53
Mar 15, 2021
wow i was rly struggling to get pennsylvania i just ended up spamming random states and got it randomly :D
+2
Level 60
Mar 15, 2021
I'm sorry, this is bogus lol. Oregon has a huge hump on top. I suggest putting the way you figure rectangles in the description, as I never open the comments before taking the quiz for concern over reading answers accidentally. Thanks.
+4
Level 78
Mar 15, 2021
Even with that hump, Oregon is still pretty rectangular. It looks more rectangular on a map than New Mexico or Arizona do.
+1
Level 65
Jul 17, 2023
the fact that you say "bogus" makes me want to disregard the rest of your comment entirely
+3
Level 67
Mar 15, 2021
The answer is Massachusetts. Everyone I've met there is a square. Zing!
+1
Level 57
Mar 16, 2021
I thought for sure that Rhode Island and Connecticut would be on here...
+1
Level 42
Mar 19, 2021
And Georgia and Alabama
+1
Level 52
Jun 28, 2021
And Hawaii, with no doubt
+1
Level 38
Jan 10, 2023
If we had a triangle version of this, South Carolina would probably be #1
+1
Level 43
Jan 10, 2023
I was typing in Arizona just as the clock stopped!
+2
Level 37
Jan 12, 2023
D.C didn't make the cut? Or did you not consider it for this quiz?
+2
Level 69
Mar 27, 2023
D.C. isn't a U.S. State
+1
Level 46
Jan 12, 2023
connecticut is much more rectangular than pennsylvania, but connecticut isnt even on the list...

-->add connecticut

+1
Level 43
May 5, 2023
What about nebraska????
+1
Level 34
Jun 10, 2023
what abt MA?