The US consists of 50 individual states all with their own unique characteristics, as well as rules, laws, and regulations. On July 1, 1963, the US Post Office Department introduced the five-digit ZIP Code, this was a result of most addressing equipment only being able to accommodate a maximum of 23 letters, which includes spacing.

To make room for the zip code, state names needed to be abbreviated, as some state names almost make up the entire 23 character limit. The Post Office Department comprised an initial list of US state abbreviations in June 1963; however, many had three or four letters, which was still too long.

In October 1963, the Department settled on the current two-letter abbreviations you see today. These can often be confusing as some states are spelled similarly which leads many to ask themselves, MI is for what state?

This is totally understandable as four states all share the same opening two letters, MI.

MI is for what State

MI is for what state? MI is the abbreviation for Michigan.

Since 1963 only one change has been made to the 50 United States abbreviations. In 1969, at the request of the Canadian postal administration, the Nebraska abbreviation changed from NB to NE, to avoid confusion with New Brunswick in Canada.




Although there has only been one change to the abbreviations list since its inception, many believe there should be more as confusion still arises when deciphering which abbreviation belongs to which state.

What State has the Abbreviation MI

With Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, and Missouri all sharing the same two-letters at the beginning of their name, it is hard to figure out that MI is for what state? We can confirm unequivocally that MI is the abbreviation for Michigan!

Unfortunately, there is no clear way of working out what state has the abbreviation MI for yourself without referring to an abbreviations table or finding a helpful page on the topic. Michigan isn’t the only state that is confusing.

US Postal Abbreviations that are also confusing:

  • Alabama and Alaska.
  • Arizona and Arkansas.
  • Colorado and Connecticut.
  • Maine, Maryland, and Massachusetts.
  • Nebraska and Nevada.
  • Tennessee and Texas.

There is no real pattern as to which state claims rights over another to secure the first two letters of their name as the postal abbreviation for that state. There are some common misconceptions and if you are not familiar with a particular state, then you will find it hard to decipher the correct two-letter abbreviation. For example, is Maine ME, or is Massachusetts ME? Similarly, is Maine MA, or is Massachusetts MA?

When you are posting documents, packages, or products as a business, or for casual purposes such as sending a greeting card to someone, you will need to know what the abbreviation is for the state you are sending something to. The importance of memorizing the state abbreviations is really quite important.