Connecticut is situated in the New England region of the northeastern United States, and is the southernmost state in the region. It is bordered by Massachusetts to the north, Rhode Island to the east, and New York to the west. To the south lies the Long Island Strait, which separates Connecticut from Long Island. The state is located along the Atlantic coast.
Connecticut is the 29th most populous state in America, with 3.4 million residents, and ranks 48th in size by area. Its capital is Hartford and its largest city is Bridgeport, with other major cities including Stamford and New Haven. According to Webster's New International Dictionary (199), a person from Connecticut is known as a 'Connecticuter'. The state flower is the Rosebay Rhododendron (Rhododendron maximum), which is native to the eastern highlands of Connecticut, and can be found in Pachaug State Forest's Rhododendron Sanctuary Trail.
Most of western and southern Connecticut (particularly the Gold Coast) is strongly associated with New York City; this area is the most prosperous and populous region in the state and has high ownership costs and high incomes. The name Connecticut is derived from the word Mohegan-Pequot which has been translated as 'long tidal river' or 'long river', both referring to the Connecticut River. The Connecticut River, the Thames River, and ports along Long Island Sound have given Connecticut a strong maritime tradition that continues today. It is also known by its nicknames of 'the Constitution State' and 'the Nutmeg State'.
Since 1982, Connecticut recorded its lowest unemployment rate in 2000 between August and October, at 2.2%. The mountain laurel (Kalmia latifolia) is native to low ridges in several parts of Connecticut. The border demarcations drawn by Casavecchia resulted in a disputed 41-mile border between Rhode Island and Connecticut. Commemorative stamps issued by the United States Postal Service with Connecticut themes include Nathan Hale, Eugene O'Neill, Josiah Willard Gibbs, Noah Webster, Eli Whitney, and the whaling ship Charles W.
The colonies of Connecticut and New Haven established Fundamental Orders documents, considered first constitutions in the United States. Connecticut's southwestern border, where it adjoins New York State, is marked by a panhandle in Fairfield County, which contains the cities of Greenwich, Stamford, New Canaan, Darien and parts of Norwalk and Wilton. The state also has a very active cycling community, with one of the highest rates of bicycle ownership and use in the United States, particularly in New Haven. Connecticut's rural areas and small towns in the northeastern and northwestern corners of the state contrast sharply with its industrial cities such as Stamford, Bridgeport and New Haven, located along coastal highways from the New York border to New London, then north along the Connecticut River to Hartford.