State Resources, Data and Information for Private Investigators

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state resources
Learn details about each state in the U.S.

This article provides a list of helpful state resources, data and information for private investigators. The state resources a list of state abbreviations and a list of the capital city for each state. In addition, it describes state constitutions, state and city websites, and even a list of state birds.

Private investigators should know how to navigate the complexities of state, city and local governments. In addition, it is always helpful to establish a positive relationship with city officials and even administrative workers that work in municipalities. The better the relationship, the easier it will be to get access to the state resources you need, or to get help with tracking things down.

List of State Abbreviations

State abbreviations are two letter symbols used to represent each state. The abbreviations are used primarily for mailing addresses and are often referred to as postal abbreviations or postal codes. The United States Post Office (USPO) introduced the abbreviations when they introduced ZIP codes to make room for the zip codes to be included in the address when written on envelopes.

When used in a mailing address, the two letter abbreviation is written in capital letters, uses no punctuation, and does not include spaces between the letters. This is often done incorrectly, as people put either the full state name or a three letter abbreviated version (Fla., for example).

In general writing, the full name of the state is preferred. The Associated Press (AP) recommends that you spell out the entire name when the name is used in running text, but use the two letter code when paired with a city name (e.g. Chicago, IL).

Following is a list of the state abbreviations:

AL – Alabama
AK – Alaska
AS – Amercian Samoa
AZ – Arizona
AR – ARKANSAS
CA- CALIFORNIA
CO- COLORADO
CT – CONNECTICUT
DE – DELAWARE
DC- DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA
FM – FEDERATED STATES OF MICRONESIA
FL – FLORIDA
GA – GEORGIA
GU – GUAM
HI – HAWAII
ID – IDAHO
IL – ILLINOIS
IN – INDIANA
IA – IOWA
KS – KANSAS
KY- KENTUCKY
LA- LOUISIANA
ME – MAINE
MD – MARYLAND
MA – MASSACHUSETTS
MI – MICHIGAN
MN – MINNESOTA
MS – MISSISSIPPI
MO – MISSOURI
MT – MONTANA
NE – NEBRASKA
NV – NEVADA
NH – NEW HAMPSHIRE
NJ – NEW JERSEY
NM – NEW MEXICO
NY – NEW YORK
NC – NORTH CAROLINA
ND – NORTH DAKOTA
MP – NORTHERN MARIANA ISLANDS
OH – OHIO
OK – OKLAHOMA
OR – OREGON
PW – PALAU
PA – PENNSYLVANIA
PR – PUERTO RICO
RI – RHODE ISLAND
SC – SOUTH CAROLINA
SD – SOUTH DAKOTA
TN – TENNESSEE
TX – TEXAS
UT – UTAH
VT – VERMONT
VI – VIRGIN ISLANDS
VA – VIRGINIA
WA – WASHINGTON
WV – WEST VIRGINIA
WI – WISCONSIN
WY – Wyoming

List of State Capitals

A state capital is the primary city or town associated with a state government. The capital is usually the city which physically houses the official offices and meeting places of the government. The current roster of capitals has not changed since  the year 1910.

Following is a list of states and their offical capital cities:

Alabama – Montgomery
Alaska – Juneau
Arizona – Phoenix
Arkansas – Little Rock
California – Sacramento
Colorado – Denver
Connecticut – Hartford
Delaware – Dover
Florida – Tallahassee
Georgia – Atlanta
Hawaii – Honolulu
Idaho – Boise
Illinois – Springfield
Indiana – Indianapolis
Iowa – Des Moines
Kansas – Topeka
Kentucky – Frankfort
Louisiana – Baton Rouge
Maine – Augusta
Maryland – Annapolis
Massachusetts – Boston
Michigan – Lansing
Minnesota – St. Paul
Mississippi – Jackson
Missouri – Jefferson City
Montana – Helena
Nebraska – Lincoln
Nevada – Carson City
New Hampshire – Concord
New Jersey – Trenton
New Mexico – Santa Fe
New York – Albany
North Carolina – Raleigh
North Dakota – Bismarck
Ohio – Columbus
Oklahoma  – Oklahoma City
Oregon – Salem
Pennsylvania – Harrisburg
Rhode Island – Providence
South Carolina – Columbia
South Dakota – Pierre
Tennessee – Nashville
Texas – Austin
Utah – Salt Lake City
Vermont – Montpelier
Virginia – Richmond
Washington – Olympia
West Virginia – Charleston
Wisconsin – Madison
Wyoming – Cheyenne

State Constitutions: Blueprints for Legal and Political Organizations

Every state in the country has its own constitution that is separate and distinct from the U.S. Constitution. State constitutions are more detailed regarding the day-to-day relationships between the local government and the people living within its geographic boundaries. The size of individual constitutions vary considerably. For example, the Vermont constitution is 10,286 words long while Alabama’s is a whopping 340,136 words long. Differences in length and detail are due to the different purposes of the documents as well as to the different approaches to constitutional uses between the federal and state governments.

Both constitutional documents are the fundamental blueprints for the legal and political organizations of their respective sovereign entities. But they also go beyond this purpose. While the U.S. Constitution prescribes the limits of federal power, state constitutions describe the details of structure and process of those governmental powers that are not delegated to the federal government.

Many documents also address very specific issues deemed to be of sufficient importance to be included in the constitution rather than in an ordinary statute. Also all state constitutions must be in compliance with the U.S. document.

State Websites and Contact Information

State websites provide access to a variety of helpful resources for citizens and are a great resource for private investigators. Detectives interact with government agencies on a regular basis and should be familiar with how to navigate the myriad of information sources. Using the websites and home pages you can:

  • Learn about the state itself, including the history, official designations and more
  • Find information and resources for moving to the area
  • Learn how to register your vehicle
  • Learn how to obtain a driver’s license
  • Learn about the emergency services offered (police, fire, etc.)
  • Learn about tax rates and how to make tax payments

City Websites

Most city governments maintain a website to provide its citizens and local residents with easy access to local city information and resources, and to serve as an information resource for people in other cities who are seeking the information. These websites can be a great source of information for finding detailed information on government programs, events and contact information for various city government departments and officials.

Some of the most common features available on includes information such as the Office of the Mayor, historical information, how to find employment in the area, how to start a business, and recent local news and press releases. In addition, you can check the status of various applications submitted and find out about city and state codes and statutes.

The municipal websites often offer helpful interactive features such as the ability to pay tax bills, pay fees for traffic fines and moving violations, renew an automobile tag or license, pay for certain utilities provided by the city, pay for other fees and taxes, register to vote or find your voting precinct,  obtain special permits and licenses, report government fraud and access the state Department of Motor Vehicles website.

For links to all local government, visit the Local Government search tool on USA.gov.

List of State Birds

Following is a list of U.S. state birds as designated by each state’s legislature.  The process for selecting state birds began in 1927, when the legislatures for Alabama, Florida, Maine, Missouri, Oregon, Texas and Wyoming chose their state birds.

  • Alabama – Yellowhammer
  • Alaska – Willow Ptarmigan
  • Arizona – Cactus Wren
  • Arkansas – Mockingbird
  • California – California Valley Quail
  • Colorado – Lark Bunting
  • Connecticut – Robin
  • Delaware – Blue Hen Chicken
  • Florida – Mockingbird
  • Georgia – Brown Thrasher
  • Hawaii – Nene
  • Idaho – Mountain Bluebird
  • Illinois – Cardinal
  • Indiana – Cardinal
  • Iowa – Eastern Goldfinch
  • Kansas – Western Meadowlark
  • Kentucky – Cardinal
  • Louisiana – Eastern Brown Pelican
  • Maine – Chickadee
  • Maryland -Baltimore Oriole
  • Massachusetts – Chickadee
  • Michigan – Robin
  • Minnesota – Common Loon
  • Mississippi – Mockingbird
  • Missouri – Bluebird
  • Montana – Western Meadowlark
  • Nebraska – Western Meadowlark
  • Nevada – Mountain Bluebird
  • New Hampshire – Purple Finch
  • New Jersey – Eastern Goldfinch
  • New Mexico – Roadrunner
  • New York – Bluebird
  • North Carolina – Cardinal
  • North Dakota – Western Meadowlark
  • Ohio – Cardinal
  • Oklahoma – Scissor-tailed Flycatcher
  • Oregon – Western Meadowlark
  • Pennsylvania – Ruffed Grouse
  • Rhode Island – Rhode Island Red
  • South Carolina – Great Carolina Wren
  • South Dakota – Ring-necked Pheasant
  • Tennessee – Mockingbird
  • Texas – Mockingbird
  • Utah – Common American Gull
  • Vermont – Hermit Thrush
  • Virginia – Cardinal
  • Washington -Willow Goldfinch
  • West Virginia – Cardinal
  • Wisconsin – Robin
  • Wyoming – Western Meadowlark

Other Facts About State Birds

  • Arizona was the last state to choose its bird
  • Several states have the same state bird
  • South Dakota is the only state that hunts its state bird, the Common Pheasant
  • The Cardinal is the most common state bird

If you have any questions, or if you would like to share other state resources, please post below. Also, view more Lists of Lists.

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