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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, China, Cuba, Denmark, Germany, India, Italy, Mexico, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Spain, Ukraine, and United States.

API documentation is available.


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'

Adding country and state exclusion to Carmen

This fork lets you exclude specific countries and/or states from Carmen. Simply set the appropriate class variables and the exclusion will take effect.

Excluding Countries

Countries to exclude are specified as an array of country codes:

Carmen.excluded_countries = [ 'AF', 'ST', 'ZW', ... ]

Excluding States

States to exclude are specified via a hash, with keys being the country's code, and values being the states to exclude from that country:

Carmen.excluded_states = { 'US' => [ 'AA', 'AP', 'PW', ... ], 'DE' => [ 'BW', 'TH' ], ... }

Adding Priority Countries

It can be useful to show a few countries first in the list, before any others. This can be done like so:

Carmen.priority_countries = %w(US 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), Hindi (:hi), Netherlands (:nl) and Brazilian Portuguese (:pt)

Rails view helpers

Carmen ships with replacements for state_select and country_select. Usage is simple:

<%= form_for @address do |f| %>
  <%= f.label :country, "Country" %> <%= f.country_select(:country, "US") %>
  <%= submit_tag "Create" %>
<% end %>


  • 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)

  • Move regex matching into an optional module.



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.


This project is only possible because of the work of many fine developers from around the world.