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Carmen- A simple collection of geographic names and abbreviations for Ruby

This library will work as a drop in replacement for the official Rails country_select and its various forks. The idea is to provide a single library for all geographic naming concerns, and unify them under a consistent API.

States are supported for the following countries: Australia, Brazil, Canada, Cuba, Denmark, Germany, Italy, Mexico, Norway, Spain, Ukraine, and United States.


gem install carmen

If you're in Rails 2.3 or earlier, place this in your environment.rb:

config.gem 'carmen'

If you're in Rails 3, put this in your Gemfile:

gem "carmen"

Get a list of all countries

Carmen.countries => […, ['Germany', 'DE'], …, ['United States', 'US'], …]
Carmen.countries(:locale => 'de') => […, ['Deutschland', 'DE'], …, ['Vereinigte Staaten von Amerika', 'US'], …]

State list retrieval

Carmen::states('US') => [['Alabama', 'AL'], ['Arkansas', 'AR'], ... ]
Carmen::states => [['Alabama', 'AL'], ['Arkansas', 'AR'], ... ] # uses default country
Carmen::state_names('US') => ['Alabama', 'Arkansas', ... ]
Carmen::state_codes('US') => ['AL', 'AR', ... ]

Abbreviation handling

Carmen::country_name('US') => 'United States'
Carmen::country_code('Canada') => 'CA'
Carmen::state_code('Illinois') => 'IL'
Carmen::state_code('Manitoba', 'CA') => 'MB'
Carmen::state_name('AZ') => 'Arizona'

Default Country

Methods that take a country code argument will use the default country if none is provided. The default default country is 'US'. You can change it to any country code:

Carmen.default_country = 'CA'


You can switch between different localizations of the countries list, by setting the locale value (default is :en):

Carmen.default_locale = :de

Methods that return country names also take an optional options hash as the last argument, which can be use to override the default locale for a single call:

Carmen::country_name('US') => 'United States'
Carmen::country_name('US', :locale => :de) => 'Vereinigte Staaten von Amerika'

Currently included localizations are: English (:en), German (:de)


  • Many countries, such as Spain, have additional levels beneath 'state' that we would ideally support. Thanks to Alberto Molpeceres for bringing this to my attention.

  • Split the Rails-specific view helpers out into a separate gem (carmen-rails)


  • 0.2.0 Merge in Maximilian Schulz's locale fork, refactor internals to better support locales, and update documentation.

    Remove Carmen::STATES and Carmen::COUNTRIES constants in favor of module instance variables and proper accessors.
    Add a test_helper and remove dependency on RubyGems.
  • 0.1.3 DEPRECATE Carmen::COUNTRIES in favor of Carmen.countries

Development notes

The plugin does not require rubygems anywhere in the test or libraries, so if you are having trouble with load errors running the tests, prepend your command with RUBYOPT=rubygems. More info.


These fine characters have contributed state lists, patches, or reported bugs:

Jose Angel Cortinas (jacortinas) Domizio Demichelis (ddnexus) Thiago Jackiw (railsfreaks) Russ Johnson (russjohnson) Henrik Hodne (dvyjones) Yuval Kordov (uberllama) Alberto Molpeceres (molpe) Dimas Priyanto (dimaspriyanto) Wojtek Ogrodowczyk (sharnik) Tobias Schmidt (grobie) Maximilian Schulz (namxam) Mani Tadayon (bowsersenior) Andriy Tyurnikov (andriytyurnikov) lonestarsoftware

If I missed your name in this list, please let me know and I will add it. I tried to find everyone that has sent in patches or found bugs, but I may have missed a few folks.