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The systematics of planthoppers north of Mexico is reviewed with particular emphasis on the contiguous United States. This overview includes a synopsis of each family, a checklist of all species reported north of Mexico, synonymies since Metcalf’s (1936–1958) catalog, summaries of distribution, keys to genera with photographs representing nearly all listed genera, and a bibliography of papers published since the Metcalf catalog. We report 12 families with 167 genera and 914 species occurring in the contiguous United States, with an additional 5 genera and 26 species occurring in Canada and Alaska (all but one of these are Delphacidae). There are 11 species known to be adventive and 2 others whose native status has been questioned. Generally, planthoppers are most species rich in the south, particularly the southwest, but species richness per unit area is higher for the northeast than the southeast or southwest. Species richness is lowest in the northwest U.S.