The flags of the U.S. states, territories, and the District of Columbia exhibit a variety of regional influences and local histories, as well as different styles and design principles. Nonetheless, the majority of the states' flags share the same design pattern consisting of the state seal superimposed on a monochrome background, commonly a shade of blue, which remains a source of criticism from vexillologists.
The most recently adopted state flag is that of Mississippi, adopted on January 11, 2021, while the most recently adopted territorial flag is that of the Northern Mariana Islands, adopted on July 1, 1985.
Modern U.S. state flags date from the turn of the 20th century, when states considered distinctive symbols for the 1893 World's Columbian Exposition in Chicago, Illinois. Most U.S. state flags were designed and adopted between 1893 and World War I.
According to a 2001 survey by the North American Vexillological Association, New Mexico has the best-designed flag of any U.S. state, U.S. territory, or Canadian province, while Georgia's state flag was rated the worst design (Georgia adopted a new flag in 2003; Nebraska's state flag, whose design was rated second worst, remains in use).
Arranged in order of each state's admission to the Union (and for the first thirteen, the order of their ratification of the Constitution):
This is the current flag of the District of Columbia.
These are the current official flags of the five permanently-inhabited territories of the United States. Dates in parenthesis denote when the territory's current flag was adopted by its respective political body.
Maine and Massachusetts have ensigns for use at sea.
Native Americans have tribal sovereignty, with Indian nations having jurisdiction over their members and Indian reservations. Although reservations are on state land, the laws of the state(s) do not necessarily apply on tribal land. Below are the flags of some of the largest Indian tribes reservations by population and area:
The U.S. national flag is the official flag for all islands, atolls, and reefs composing the United States Minor Outlying Islands. However, unofficial flags are sometimes used to represent some of the insular areas in the U.S. Minor Outlying Islands:
The flag of the Commonwealth shall be a deep blue field, with a circular white centre of the same material. Upon this circle shall be painted or embroidered, to show on both sides alike, the coat of arms of the Commonwealth, as described in § 1-500 for the obverse of the great seal of the Commonwealth; and there may be a white fringe on the outer edge, furthest from the flagstaff. This shall be known and respected as the flag of the Commonwealth. (Code 1950, § 7-32; 1966, c. 102, § 7.1-32; 2005, c. 839.)
The department of administration shall ensure that all official state flags that are manufactured on or after May 1, 1981, conform to the requirements of this section. State flags manufactured before May 1, 1981, may continue to be used as state flags.
Oregon is the only state whose flag has different patterns on each side. The design for the Oregon flag was adopted by the legislature in 1925.
Colors shall be colorfast and shall not bleed one into another. Added by Laws 1925, c. 234, p. 340, § 1. Amended by Laws 1941, p. 90, § 1; Laws 2006, c. 181, § 1, eff. Nov. 1, 2006.
This act shall become effective November 1, 2006.