Largest cityNew York City
Official languagesNone at federal level
National languageEnglish (de facto)
AreaTotal 9,826,630 km2
Population2009 estimate 306,114,000
CurrencyUnited States dollar
Country Profile: U.S.A.
The United States of America (commonly referred to as the United States, the U.S., the USA, or America) is a federal constitutional republic comprising 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 its east and Russia to the west across the Bering Strait. The state of Hawaii is an archipelago in the mid-Pacific. The country also possesses several territories, or insular areas, in the Caribbean and Pacific. With about 306 million people, the United States is the third or fourth largest country by total area, and third largest by land area and by population. The United States is one of the world's most ethnically diverse and multicultural nations, the product of large-scale immigration from many countries. The U.S. economy is the largest national economy in the world, with nearly 25% of the GDP of the entire world. The United States is also by far the wealthiest country in the world.
Originally a colony of Great Britain, the United States - known then as the 13 Colonies - declared their independence on July 4th, 1776 with The Declaration of Independence. They would eventually win the American Revolution against Great Britain, itself the first successful colonial war of independence.
The United States has a capitalist mixed economy, which is fueled by abundant natural resources, a well-developed infrastructure, and high productivity. The United States is the largest importer of goods and third largest exporter, though exports per capita are relatively low. Canada, China, Mexico, Japan, and Germany are its top trading partners. The leading export commodity is electrical machinery, while vehicles constitute the leading import. The private sector constitutes the bulk of the economy, with government activity accounting for much less. The economy is postindustrial, with the service sector contributing 67.8% of GDP. The leading business field by gross business receipts is wholesale and retail trade; by net income it is finance and insurance. The United States remains an industrial power, with chemical products the leading manufacturing field, The United States is also the third largest producer of oil in the world, as well as its largest importer. It is the world's number one producer of electrical and nuclear energy, as well as liquid natural gas, sulfur, phosphates, and salt. While agriculture accounts for just under 1% of GDP, the United States is the world's top producer of corn and soybeans. The New York Stock Exchange is the world's largest by dollar volume exchange market in the world, with the two most recoognized trade names in the world, the American company Coca Cola and McDonalds.
Science and Technology
The United States has been a leader in scientific research and technological innovation since the late 19th century. In 1876, Alexander Graham Bell was awarded the first U.S. patent for the telephone. Thomas Edison's laboratory developed the phonograph, the first long-lasting light bulb, and the first viable movie camera. Nikola Tesla pioneered alternating current, the AC motor, and radio. In the early 20th century, the automobile companies of Ransom E. Olds and Henry Ford promoted the assembly line. The Wright brothers, in 1903, made the first sustained and controlled heavier-than-air powered flight. The rise of Nazism in the 1930s led many European scientists, including Albert Einstein and Enrico Fermi, to immigrate to the United States. During World War II, the Manhattan Project developed nuclear weapons, ushering in the Atomic Age. The Space Race produced rapid advances in rocketry, materials science, and computers. The United States largely developed the ARPANET and its successor, the Internet. Today, the bulk of research and development funding, 64%, comes from the private sector. The United States leads the world in scientific research papers and impact factor. Americans possess high levels of technological consumer goods and almost half of U.S. households have broadband Internet access. The country is the primary developer and grower of genetically modified food; more than half of the world's land planted with biotech crops is in the United States.
The United States is the world's third largest producer of oil and ironically its largest importer as well. The U.S. is looking to limit its dependence on foreign energy, mostly oil. The U.S. is also outspending nearly the rest of the world combined for renewable energy research, for such technologies as fuel-cells and certain nanotechnologies. Despite the enormous wealth of natural resources, the U.S. in striving to move away from non-renewable resources such as oil and coal and are turning to wind, solar and electric. These changes are especially being done in the state of California, which when compared to the rest of the world, has the 6th largest economy in the world. They are seen as a pioneer state for "going green" and new energy resources. The United Sates with its abundance of wealth, natural resources and high economic productivity will continue to be a leader in the Renewable energy market.
While there is no official language in the U.S., Enlgish is the de facto language, spoken by over 80% of the population. Spanish is the second most spoken language, with nearly 15% of the population using it. Because of the rich cultural diversity of the U.S., there has been no immediate need to make an official language, though it is necessary to learn English in order to properly assimilate into the culture.
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