We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.
Advertiser Disclosure
Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.
How We Make Money
We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently of our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

What Is a State Flag?

Mary McMahon
Updated May 21, 2024
Our promise to you
America Explained is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At America Explained, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject-matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

A state flag is a flag that represents a specific state within the United States. The bulk of the state flags in use today were designed around the turn of the 20th century and several states have gone through multiple flags before settling on their current incarnations. By convention, state flags are flown at state offices, usually with a United States flag. The US flag must be positioned higher than a state flag by either flying it above the state flag on a flagpole designed to accommodate two flags, or flying it on a higher flagpole if two flagpoles are used.

Each state flag is highly distinctive, and includes visual elements that are designed to convey the history, spirit, and ethos associated with the state. State symbols include the grizzly bear on the California flag, the rising sun on the Arizona flag, and the beaver on the Oregon flag. Many state flags, including those for Kansas, Maine, Florida, Idaho, and South Dakota, are decorated with the state seal.

state flag

For those interested in vexillology, the scientific study of flags, the state flags furnish a great deal of material of interest. Several states, such as California and Texas, have flags that they used during periods of independence or rebellion from the United States. The Civil War led to the development of a number of distinctive state flags in the Southern States, with the states expressing their support for secession with mottoes like “Independent now and forever,” which appears on the Alabama state flag. These flags can be seen in state archives and numerous reproductions are available in textbooks and history books.

Flags can be made from cotton and other materials. If a flag will be displayed at night and in bad weather, an all-weather design is used. An all-weather state flag will resist fading and bleeding, extending the life of the flag so that it can be displayed longer. Once a flag is no longer fit for display as a result of fading, tears, or other damage, it must be respectfully disposed of and replaced. In several states, community service organizations retire damaged flags and provide new flags free of charge.

Several states have programs similar to that adopted by the United States Capitol, allowing individual citizens to request flags that have flown over the Capitol Building. Citizens can write their lawmakers for more information. States may also fly unique flags, such as historic versions of the state flag, by special arrangement. These flags are also available as mementos.

America Explained is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Link to Sources
Mary McMahon
By Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a America Explained researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

Discussion Comments
By sunshined — On Jun 27, 2012

I am from Texas, and our state flag is very simple. It has the same red, white and blue colors that the US flag has. There is one white star on the left side that is on a blue background.

The rest of the flag is a solid red and white stripe. Even though this is very plain, it has a lot of meaning behind it. The colors represent loyalty, strength and bravery.

When we were in 5th grade, we had to complete a history project on our state. I have always remembered what our state flag looks like and could easily pick it out if it was lined up with several other state flags.

By julies — On Jun 27, 2012

My state flag has our state seal on it with a logo that says, "Equality Before the Law." The entire flag is what our state seal looks like. The flag is a national blue color with the center being gold and silver.

I worked in one of our state offices for many years, so passed by this flag almost every day when I was walking to my office.

I think many people are not aware of what their state flag or seal says or stands for. There is a lot of rich history there, but I think it is common for many people to know very little about them.

By myharley — On Jun 26, 2012
I didn't realize you could request a state flag that had flown over the capitol building. My dad has a great collection of flags that have special meaning to him, and he would be pleasantly surprised if he was able to get a flag like this.

I have never really paid much attention to what is on my state flag. I know I have seen it displayed at different places, but really couldn't tell you what is on it.

I wonder how many other people are the same way. I know this is something I studied when I was in school, but I sure don't remember it.

Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a...

Learn more
America Explained, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

America Explained, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.