From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.
The Continental United States or CONUS consists of the 48 contiguous states of the United States of America and the federal capital, the District of Columbia. This grouping is also referred to as the conterminous states, the contiguous states or the Lower 48.
Although Alaska is geographically a continental state (sharing North America, but separated from the Lower 48 by Canada), it is considered a non-continental state. This rhetorical distinction originated in the Alaska Omnibus Act of 1959 in light of the state's admission into the Union and had to do with IRS legalities.
In Hawaii, the continental United States is typically referred to as "the mainland". In Alaska the continental United States is referred to as "the lower 48", or also "outside".
See also: Mainland