The United States of America (USA)
||The Star-Spangled Banner
Watch on youtube (with lyrics)
||New York City
||English (de facto)
|| ~ 79.8% White / ~ 12.8% African American / ~ 4.5% Asian American / ~ 1.0% Native American and Alaska Native / ~ 0.2% Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander / ~ 1.7% Multiracial / ~ 15.4% Hispanic (of any race)
||Federal constitutional presidential republic
||9,826,675 km2, 3,794,101 sq mi
||~ 309,3 million
||United States dollar ($) (USD)
|| .us / .gov / .mil / .edu
The USA comprise fifty states and a federal district. The country is situated mostly in central North America, where its forty-eight contiguous
states and Washington, D.C., the capital district, lie between the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans, bordered by Canada to the north and Mexico to the south. The state of Alaska is in the northwest of the continent, with Canada to the east and Russia to the west across the Bering Strait
. The state of Hawaii is an archipelago
in the mid-Pacific. At 3.79 million square miles (9.83 million km2), the United States is the third largest country by total area.
The capital of the United States is Washington, D.C., commonly referred to as Washington, the District, or simply D.C. The city shares its name with the U.S. state of Washington on the country's Pacific coast. The District has a resident population of 599,657; because of commuters
from the surrounding suburbs
, its population rises to over one million during the workweek. The most populous city in the USA is New York City. As a leading global city, New York exerts
a powerful influence over global commerce, finance, media, culture, art, fashion, research, education, and entertainment. The city's 2008 estimated
population exceeded 8.3 million. Some other large cities in the USA are Los Angeles and Chicago.
Society and culture
The United States is a multicultural nation, home to a wide variety of ethnic groups, traditions, and values. Aside from the now small Native American and Native Hawaiian populations, nearly all Americans or their ancestors
immigrated within the past five centuries
. The culture held in common by most Americans is a Western culture largely derived from the traditions of European immigrants with influences from many other sources, such as traditions brought by slaves
The United States population is projected by the U.S. Census Bureau to be 309,411,000, including an estimated 11.2 million illegal immigrants. In 2009, 1.1 million immigrants were granted legal residence. The United States has a very diverse population. White Americans are the largest racial group; German Americans, Irish Americans, and English Americans constitute
three of the country's four largest ancestry groups. African Americans are the nation's largest racial minority
. Asian Americans are the country's second largest racial minority; the two largest Asian American ethnic groups are Chinese American and Filipino American. There are 46.9 million Americans of Hispanic descent. Minorities (all those beside non-Hispanic, non-multiracial whites) constitute 34% of the population.
English is the national language. In 2006, about 224 million, or 80% of the population aged five years and older, spoke only English at home. Spanish, spoken by 12% of the population at home, is the second most common language and the most widely taught second language. In Hawaii, both Hawaiian and English are official languages. Louisiana has laws providing
for the use of both English and French.
The United States is officially a secular
nation; the First Amendment
of the U.S. Constitution guarantees the free exercise of religion. According to a 2007 survey, 78.4% of adults identified themselves as Christian. Protestant denominations
accounted for 51.3%, while Roman Catholicism, at 23.9%, was the largest individual denomination. The total reporting non-Christian religions in 2007 was 4.7%. The leading non-Christian faiths were Judaism (1.7%), Buddhism (0.7%), Islam (0.6%), Hinduism (0.4%), and Unitarian Universalism (0.3%). The survey also reported that 16.1% of Americans described themselves as agnostic, atheist, or simply having no religion.
Government and politics
The United States is a constitutional republic and representative democracy
. The government is regulated by a system of checks and balances
defined by the U.S. Constitution, which serves as the country's supreme
legal document. In the American federalist system, citizens are usually subject to three levels of government, federal, state, and local. The federal government is composed of three branches: the Legislative (the bicameral Congress, made up of the Senate and the House of Representatives), the Executive (the president) and the Judicial (the Supreme Court and lower federal courts). The United States has operated under a two-party system for most of its history. The major parties are the Democratic Party and the Republican Party. The Democrat Barack Obama is currently the 44th U.S. president.
The United States has a mixed capitalist economy, which is fueled
natural resources, a well-developed infrastructure, and high productivity. The country has the largest national GDP
in the world. The United States is the largest importer of goods and third largest exporter. It is the third largest producer of oil in the world, as well as its largest importer. Also, it is the world's number one producer of electrical and nuclear energy, as well as liquid natural gas, sulfur, phosphates, salt, corn and soybeans. The New York Stock Exchange is the world's largest by dollar volume. The American brands Coca-Cola and McDonald's are the two most recognised brands in the world.