How Many Islands in USA: Top 20 Largest, The Best and Full List
|How many islands does America have?|
How Many Islands Are in USA?
The United States claims ownership of 18,617 islands, including well-known locales like the Hawaiian Archipelago, and census data is collected from some of those island areas as well as its 50 states and the District of Columbia, according to WorldAtlas website and the U.S. Geological Survey.
These islands include Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, Guam, American Samoa, and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands. Several smaller island regions are also included, such as the Corn Islands, Navassa Island, Quita Sueño Bank, Roncador Cay, and Serrana Bank, Baker, Howland, and Jarvis Islands, Canton and Enderbury Islands, Johnston Atoll, Kingman Reef, The Midway Islands, Palmyra Atoll, and Wake Island. Alaska alone includes over 2,600 islands.
Puerto Rico was first enumerated in 1899, followed closely by the Virgin Islands in 1917, with economic census programs being implemented in 1963 and 1958 respectively. Wake Island has a famous history, being integral in the role it played during the World War II. It came under American ownership in 1898, was reported as being populated in the 1950 US census and has been administered by the US Air Force since 1962.
Uninhabited and Inhabited Islands of the United States
The United States of America holds claim to 16 territories outside of the United States. These range from Puerto Rico, with over 140 smaller islands and over 3 million residents, to uninhabited territories (and disputed territories) such as Bajo Nuevo Bank, Navassa Island, Serranilla Bank, and Wake Island, according to Geology website.
Inhabited Territories of the U.S
American Samoa: A group of islands (5 volcanic islands and 2 coral atolls) in the South Pacific Ocean, located about halfway between Hawaii and New Zealand. American Samoa lies just southeast of the Independent State of Samoa, from which it was separated in 1899. Over 50,000 people live in American Samoa, and people born there are considered non-citizen nationals of the United States.
Guam: An island in the North Pacific Ocean. It is the southernmost and largest island in the Mariana Islands archipelago. It has a population of approximately 162,000. People born in Guam are granted U.S. citizenship.
Northern Mariana Islands: A group of 15 islands in the North Pacific Ocean. There are over 50,000 people living in the Northern Mariana Islands, with the majority living on the island of Saipan. People born in the Northern Mariana Islands are granted U.S. citizenship.
Puerto Rico: Includes the main island of Puerto Rico and over 140 smaller islands in the Caribbean Sea. Puerto Rico is the largest and most populous of the U.S. territories, with over 3 million residents. People born in Puerto Rico are granted U.S. citizenship.
U.S. Virgin Islands: Located in the Caribbean Sea, just east of Puerto Rico. They include the three main islands of St. Thomas, St. John, and St. Croix, along with nearly 80 smaller surrounding islands. Over 100,000 people reside in the USVI. People born in the USVI are granted U.S. citizenship.
Uninhabited Territories of the U.S
Baker Island: An atoll in the Pacific Ocean. It lies just north of the equator, about halfway between Hawaii and Australia. It is a National Wildlife Refuge for seabirds, shorebirds, and marine wildlife such as turtles.
Howland Island: A coral island in the Pacific Ocean, located slightly northwest of Baker Island. Howland Island was to be a refueling stop for Amelia Earhart during her 1937 flight around the world, but Earhart and her airplane mysteriously disappeared without reaching the island. Today, Howland Island is a National Wildlife Refuge.
Jarvis Island: A coral island in the Pacific Ocean, located just south of the equator and about halfway between Hawaii and the Cook Islands. It is a National Wildlife Refuge for seabirds, shorebirds, and marine wildlife.
Johnston Atoll: Comprised of four islands atop a coral reef platform. It is located about 860 miles southwest of Hawaii. Coral dredging was used to quadruple the size of Johnston Island and double the size of Sand Island. The artificial islands of Akau and Hikina were also created with coral dredging. Although Johnston Atoll was controlled by the U.S. military for many decades, today it is administered as a National Wildlife Refuge.
Kingman Reef: A partially submerged reef located about one-third of the way between Hawaii and American Samoa in the North Pacific Ocean. Above sea level, the reef is often awash and cannot support permanent plant and animal life. However, it is a National Wildlife Refuge for a diverse variety of marine wildlife.
Midway Atoll: Named due to the fact that it is an atoll about midway between Asia and North America. It is also approximately halfway around the world from the prime meridian. Midway Atoll is part of the Hawaiian archipelago but not part of the state of Hawaii. Although there are no permanent inhabitants, there are residential facilities available for U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service staff. The atoll is a National Wildlife Refuge which hosts Hawaiian monk seals, green sea turtles, spinner dolphins, squid, octopus, crustaceans, fish, various seabirds, and the world's largest colony of Laysan albatrosses.
Palmyra Atoll: A cluster of about 50 islets in the North Pacific Ocean, just southeast of Kingman Reef. There are no permanent inhabitants, but there are facilities and a research station for temporary residents such as scientists and scholars. The atoll is a National Wildlife Refuge.
Wake Island as seen from an airplane. Public domain photo by Tech. Sgt. Shane A. Cuomo of the U.S. Air Force.
Uninhabited and Disputed Territories of the U.S
Bajo Nuevo Bank, also known as the Petrel Islands: Two coral reefs in the Caribbean Sea, located about 150 miles southwest of Jamaica. Administered by Colombia but claimed by the United States and Jamaica.
Navassa Island: A small island about 35 miles west of the southwest peninsula of Haiti. Claimed by Haiti and the United States.
Serranilla Bank: A former atoll, now mostly submerged, located in the Caribbean Sea about 200 miles southwest of Jamaica. Administered by Colombia but claimed by the United States and Honduras. Colombia maintains naval facilities on the islet of Beacon Cay.
Wake Island: A remote coral atoll in the Pacific Ocean, about 2,000 miles southeast of Tokyo, Japan. The main island has an airfield, a missile launch center, and facilities that house U.S. military personnel. Wake Island is administered by the United States but claimed by the Marshall Islands.
Top 20 Largest Islands In America
|1||Hawaii Island (the Big Island)||10,433||Hawaii|
|3||Puerto Rico||8,710||Puerto Rico|
|4||Prince of Wales Island||6,675||Alaska|
|6||St. Lawrence Island||5,135||Alaska|
|11||Long Island||3,629||New York|
Top 15 Best U.S. Islands In 2022
(by CNN readers)
For CNN 34th annual Readers’ Choice Awards, voters weighed in on their favorite islands in the United States. Over 800,000 of you filled out our survey, and while we’re always curious about where you’ve been and where you’re going, we’re especially excited by the truly memorable places that sparked your imagination and stayed with you when travel may have seemed out of reach. Here are the 15 islands you loved most this year.
|Hilton Head Island - Best U.S. Islands|
15. San Juan Islands, Washington
14. Florida Keys
13. Block Island, Rhode Island
12. Nantucket, Massachusetts
11. Sanibel and Captiva Islands, Florida
10. Key West, Florida
9. Marco Island, Florida
8. Big Island, Hawaii
7. Kauai, Hawaii
6. Mackinac Island, Michigan
5. Oahu, Hawaii
4. Maui, Hawaii
3. Lanai, Hawaii
2. Kiawah Island, South Carolina
1. Hilton Head Island, South Carolina
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